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A Toe-Tapping, Dancing 3D-Printed Robot Plays Music

Making Music With Poppy from Pierre Rouanet on Vimeo. It can “learn” to tap its toe and bob its head. And then it can make sounds as you move its arms. It’s a robotic interface for music – a bit like playing with a very smart toy doll. To show off its interactive/interfacing abilities, the team behind Poppy used music. Poppy is a robot that can be produced with a 3D printer. All the hardware and software are fully open source. The idea – fused with cash from the EU’s European Research Council for funding science and creativity – is …

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Beyond Traditional Instruments, a Status Report from the SoundLab

There’s nothing more personal than creative expression. And so experimenting with how you make music is more than just novelty: it’s a way to understand the fundamentals of how we relate to machines. And thinking outside the normal avenues means the ability to reach new people, as SoundLab is doing with audiences with learning disabilities. Ashley Elsdon joins us to give us the latest of how the project is going. A little while ago, CDM kindly posted a piece on our SoundLab project, which aims to help people with learning disabilities make music and collaborate in music creation. That was …

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Eat a Cucumber! A Musical Playground Gets Kids Hooked on Veggies, Music, and Electronics

Quick, we need kids to be able to express their feelings, they really ought to learn more about electronics, and – more veg. Definitely need to eat more vegetables. You know what we have to do. Let’s combine all that. Moscow-based collective/project Playtronica has gone wild with the Makey Makey “invention kit,” and built a whole range of projects around interfacing electronics to vegetables and other creative inputs. They have hands-on workstations for kids that look like your Farmers’ Market was taken over by Leon Theremin. Kids are making rhythms, recording sounds, making songs. And in a CDM-exclusive premiere, we …

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Through a Musician’s Eyes: Google Glass as Musical Teaching Tool

Google Glass meets … French Horn? Wearable camera technology could offer a new window into centuries of Classical Music tradition. That could happen not only via Google Glass but other online and camera tech, too. Sarah Willis, French Horn player, is using Glass as a way to bring young people closer to the Classical experience. And Willis is allowing people to see the point of view of an experienced artist in a symphony, watching conductors, and (depending on instruments and playing technique) the instrument itself. Sarah spoke to Berlin’s NEXT Conference yesterday, a tech conference. I spoke there, as well, …

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Massive Veg Attack: Makey Makey + Fruits, Vegetables = Music

Pianos made of apples are becoming, suddenly, commonplace. Photo (CC-BY) Pete Prodoehl. Call it a massive attack of fruits and veg. Simple circuits have long been able to make use of sensors in real-world stuff like apples or JELL-O. But Make Makey deserves special credit for making interfacing those circuits with a computer silly-simple. (The project grew out of research at MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten; to get a small sense of how much is involved in getting an idea like this off the ground successfully, check out the incredible list of men and women who contributed on the about …

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Kinect in Teaching: Playful Puppets, Terrains, Lighting, and More Breakthroughs

Teaching has its moments of reward and frustration in equal measure, but I’m of the belief that there are no limits to the new ideas that can grow out of groups of engaged students. In fact, it’s often in the first draft, the first experiment, the first time a student has tried something that I feel like I see the greatest spark of new ideas. Freed of concerns about whether something has been done before (looking at you, jaded artists and comment trolls alike), liberated by the bone-crunching stress of deadlines (ahem, yes, they do have a motivating impact), students …

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mooglab

MoogLab to Teach Science through Electronic Music, But Your Votes Needed

Want to see hundreds of pieces of music kit from keyboards to oscilloscopes, plus some 1500 mini-Theremin toys for students, coupled with US-wide education to help introduce young people to science? That’s the idea behind a grant proposal by the Moog Foundation. The Foundation’s MoogLab teaches science through sound – a worthy cause. Not only was Bob Moog’s life in electronic music ignited by discovering the Theremin, but many of today’s generation of scientists and thinkers were raised on electronic sound kits a few short decades ago. Without the same exposure to science and sound, young boys and girls may …

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Music Tech and Music Education: Blogs and CDM on the ME Podcast

The connection between music education and technology has always been really significant to me. Aside from (sometimes) being a teacher myself and having spent a few years doing training for notation package Sibelius, to me learning and teaching are fundamental to musical activity even outside schools. I got to sit in as a guest on the excellent Music Tech for ME podcast last week: Music Tech for ME 2008.07.01-#030 Be sure to check out the whole Music Tech for ME series. There’s some great stuff in there, covering educational issues, how technology is evolving and how it fits in with …

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