The use of Music Programming in Music Education as a new teaching music method and its benefits.

Εμμανουηλίδου Σοφία, Ιωάννης Ζάννος

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Music Education in a Changing World ( Friday, 15-Apr-22 19:15:00 EEST )

Although digital technology has invaded our everyday life, knowledge of its principles is very limited amongst musicians. Ignorance of the principles of programming and digital technology is a hindrance to creativity when using music technology. This paper argues that composers/musicians/performers and, therefore, music teachers would be well advised to try to assimilate existing technological developments through the use of music programming. We consider as a candidate tool for this purpose SuperCollider, a free open source software that is one of the most sophisticated and complete programming environments for sound and music. This environment opens up rich possibilities for new sounds and musical structures. This is vital for a composer/musician/performer living in today’s fast-paced society.

This scholarly article proposes a new approach to introducing music programming into music education and performance based on the open source music and sound programming language SuperCollider (Audio composition and editing in Supercollider IDE, Karamanlis 2021). The article focuses on the use of SuperCollider in music practice and education and more specifically on the benefits of using code to explain concepts known from acoustics, music mathematics and digital sound processing in order to improve our understanding of the nature of musical sound (Physical Modelling, Magnusson n.d.). We discuss the benefits of music programming in music composition and performance. We show how music programming affects both the process of composing/performing music itself and our understanding of the musical experience itself. We propose a method based on finding, selecting examples of code and adapting and combining them with free experimentation in an improvisational manner. It is widely known that improvisation and experimentation are key factors in the development of the arts and sciences. The process described can be seen as a specific learning activity applied to music and digital technology (Activity theory as a potential framework for human-computer interaction research, Kuutti 1996).

Programming music with SuperCollider can be time-consuming because this programming environment offers many alternative ways to define musical and sound structures and to create interactive audio applications. Beginners in programming lack the experience needed to express musical thought or sound intent with flexibility and detail. Therefore, a key challenge for beginners is to gain experience and enrich their vocabulary of programming techniques so that they can express themselves musically through programming. Consequently, we emphasize the role of code reuse, i.e., adapting existing code examples to create new ones, as a tool to enrich the musical programming vocabulary (Foundations of game-based learning, Plass et al.2015). We examine how such examples can be found on the web and how they are adapted for educational and creative purposes. We propose that this process is comparable to the identification or formulation of software design patterns (Software Design Patterns, Gamma et al. 1994). As a typical example, we consider criteria and methods for combining sounds produced by synthesizers during mixing. We attempt to identify categories of code techniques and the musical aspects to which they correspond.

The experiences gained from experimenting with SuperCollider have given us convincing evidence that musical programming can open the door to musical creativity and exploration, and have given us a first insight into the potential of free open source software in education and artistic creation.

  • Ταυτότητες και ετερότητες στη μουσική και τη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
  • Πλουραλισμός και ιεραρχίες αξιών στη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Σύνδεση της μουσικής εκπαίδευσης με την καθημερινή ζωή
  • Μουσική εκπαίδευση και κυρίαρχη κουλτούρα
  • Μουσική εκπαίδευση και Κριτική Παιδαγωγική
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες, δια βίου μουσική μάθηση και ευζωία
  • Νέοι γραμματισμοί (ψηφιακός, πολυτροπικός, ηλεκτρονική πληροφορία)
  • Ιδεολογίες και κοινωνικές-πολιτικές αξίες στα προγράμματα σπουδών μουσικής
  • Εκπαιδευτικές πολιτικές για τη μουσική εκπαίδευση (διαχρονικά και συγχρονικά)
  • Το κρυφό πρόγραμμα σπουδών στο σχολείο και στο ωδείο (σιωπηρές αξίες, μουσικός ηγεμονικός λόγος)
  • Νέες μουσικές-τεχνολογικές εμπειρίες
  • Ψηφιακές μουσικές κοινότητες και εικονικά σύνολα
  • Εκπαίδευση εκπαιδευτικών
  • Η μουσική διδασκαλία-μάθηση σε τυπικά, μη τυπικά και άτυπα περιβάλλοντα
  • Πολυτροπικές δράσεις στη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Πολύτεχνες παραστάσεις στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
Keywords Music Education, Music Programming, SuperCollider, Compositional Practices, Music Technology
Language English
Author(s) CV

Sophia Emmanouilidou studied Music Composition at Bachelor’s and Master’s level (5-years degree equivalent to an integrated master) in Faculty of Fine Arts, School of Music Studies at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR) under the supervision of Prof. Michalis Lapidakis. She studied also composition with Prof. Christos Samaras, Prof. Dimitris Papageorgiou and Prof. Dimitris Maronidis. In 2020 she graduated from Aristotle University and she was admitted at the intersectional Master Programme “Sound Arts and Technologies” at Ionian University in Corfu (GR). Sophia Emmanouilidou currently focuses on electroacoustic compositions and music programming as well all multidisciplinary compositions for acoustic instruments, tapes, media and music programming. She works as a music teacher in various institutions and settings. 

Iannis Zannos researches interactive media arts at the Department of Audiovisual Arts and at the postgraduate course in Arts and Technologies of Sound of the Music Department at the Ionian University, Corfu. Besides performing regularly with Live Coding on SuperCollider, he also participates in artistic collaborations in a Media Arts setting. Currently Iannis Zannos is focusing on how environmental issues as well as problems of multiculturality are reflected in media-art terms, in particular collaborative and performance practices with gestural devices employing telematic technologies.