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Sonic Pi Workshops in Düsseldorf

19th October 2020

One activity that wasn’t stopped due to Corona were my music coding lectures at school. While at first, I was a bit sceptical towards locking myself in a classroom with 20 children, my concerns vanished soon after I held my first class in front of a small group of children that all wore their masks and followed the distance guidelines. In autumn, we could also keep the windows open to keep the air flowing.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of coding music, here’s a quick run down: We work with a software called Sonic Pi, created by Sam Aaron. This software allows you to write code that reads like this:

play :C4
sleep 1
play :D4
sleep 0.5
play :E4
sleep 0.5

This easy piece of code would tell the program to play a note (C4), rest for a set amount of time (depending on your bpm), play another note, rest, etc. .

But the software can handle a lot more than that, including stuff like effects, loops, randomness, conditionals  – which eventually makes the students’ works increasingly complex over the run of a workshop. Which is awesome! This year, I updated my lecture routine, adding in some field recording and synthesis.

Shoutout to my uncle Ekki who makes these workshops possible, and to Tobi, Jonas, Joseph, David, Axel and all my other lecturer friends!