Monday, April 4, 2016

Making Music

Chrome Music Lab is a fun, hands-on way to explore rhythm, music, art and more.  The most fascinating thing to me about it was the story behind its creation - a collaboration of programmers and musicians paired with the unparalleled accessibility of both the actual music lab and code so that more creating can take place.

So, here it is, my middle school students exploring and experimenting with the lab.
Here's an experimental band...
Here's the oscillator feature...
Now that they had time to experiment, I began to think about next steps.  The music lab reminded me in many ways of things that I have students do in Scratch, so I created a studio in Scratch where they can put in their own music lab creations...random colors while notes play and so on.  They can create their own Kadinsky or Picasso music lab for that matter!

I was also reminded of Ted-Ed Lessons and the many interactive and informative lessons there.  Here are a few that go right along with the music lab:
Rhythm in a box: the story of the cajon drum - Paul Jennings:
A different way to visualize rhythm - John Varney:

Next, I plan to have my students connect the music lab with what they have been doing with coding. The random colors that appear in the Chrome Music Lab?  That reminds me of the "random color" feature in Scratch with the "pen down" block that allows the students to draw.  Adding notes and music to the mix will allow them to create their own music in a music "studio" in Scratch.  So excited about the possibilities and applications!  This is real STEAM in action!


  1. Janice, I love this idea of incorporating art with technology. When my students are given Chromebook time, much of that time is spent using math or reading programs. While those are important, I really want to find a way to show them that they can create things while they're on there as well. I think what you just posted could help me design a project for my students. You wrote that you did this with your middle school students, but do you know how well something like this would work in a primary grade classroom? Thank you for the post and the ideas you've sparked!

    1. Stephen,

      Yes! Definitely bringing the creating into the classroom is so critical. I do believe this same project would work well with elementary students - making music and making code. There is also Scratch Jr., which is geared toward younger students so this may be something to try as well.