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Beats with Code

Students are led through the process of building music applications with Pure Data (Pd), a free and open-source visual programming language. During the process students are exposed to science and math related to music, sound, and computers, as well as coding and design concepts. 

Pennsylvania Curriculum Standards

(A=Assembly; W=Workshop; R=Residency)

9.1 Production, Performance and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts W, R

13.1 Career Awareness and Aptitudes W, R

15.3 Communication: Identify diversity within groups and its effect on communication W, R

15.4 Learning Through Experience W, R

25.3 Pro-Social Relationships with Adults W, R

25.4 Pro-Social Relationships with Peers W, R

Art Form(s): Music

Instrument(s): Electronic, Computers, Technology

Musicopia offers quality
“Little Ones” programming
for Early Learning Centers

Workshop, and Residency Offerings

Beats with Code: Creative Classroom Workshop

Students grades 4th and above, are stationed at computers running Pure Data at a ratio no greater than 3 students to 1 computer. A ratio of 1 to 1 is preferred and class sizes planned around 1:1 are encouraged. Students are first introduced to fundamental concepts of the science of sound and music with a pre-built Pd app. Two topics are initially explored. 1. What is sound? 2. The three parameters of sound: Frequency (pitch), Amplitude (loudness), and Wave Shape (timbre). Students are next introduced to VPL’s (visual programming languages), Pd, and the most important Pd building blocks for the purposes of our project. Students are then led through the process of building one or more music/sound apps in Pd. A projector for the teacher’s computer is required. Student input will dictate the details of the app’s design and function. If time allows, apps can be linked for a larger music making experience. Potential apps include drum machines, synthesizers, sequencers, and effects modules.. (Maximum: ~11 students)


Best for: 4th-12th Grades  •  After-School/Community

Beats with Code Residency

This residency exposes students to math and science related to music, sound, and computers, as well coding and design concepts and new ways of thinking about music. All of this happens with guided exploration and one or more app building projects using a visual programming language (VPL) called Pure Data (Pd). VPL’s allow users to create programs by manipulating program elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually with a more conventional textual programming language. This leads to a faster app building process and allows for quick trial and error exploration. During a series of workshops, students are first introduced to essential scientific concepts concerning sound and music followed by an introduction to VPL’s and quickly to the Pure Data language. The remaining workshop time is used to build simple but powerful music making apps. Although students are led through this process, student input will dictate the details of the app’s design and function. It’s possible each workstation’s app will have unique details. Concluding the workshops will be an assembly demonstrating the student’s apps as well as some basic concepts behind the process. An initial tech visit by teaching artist Doug Hirlinger is required to assess equipment and to install software. This program can be adjusted to serve students of different ages and abilities and is appropriate for grades 4 and up. 

Best for: 4-12  •  After-School/Community

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Doug Hirlinger is an active performer, composer, and educator increasingly interested in the intersections between technology, activism, improvisation, and sound/music. He has been guest lecturer at universities such as The New School, Temple University, and Coe College in Iowa as well as a frequent teaching artist in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, and New Jersey public and private schools. Doug has been teaching music privately for over 20 years and is a self-taught programmer. Doug has performed throughout the United States and Europe and has appeared with many musicians and ensembles of note including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Matt Mitchell, Ralph Bowen, Gene Perla, Luis Perdomo, and Joel Frahm. He recently completed an artist residency at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. 

Joined Musicopia: 2018