About Sonic Pi: Live & Coding
Sonic Pi: Live & Coding, a ground breaking digital research and development project, has been working intensively with Sonic Pi and looking at how the program can be used to provide new pathways for young people into digital music. The research-centred process involved a delivery team of instrumental music teachers, school music and computing teachers, researchers, technologists and artists who worked with children at two secondary schools (KS3) and a five day summer school to explore the creative potential of Sonic Pi and test and develop resources.
Sonic Pi, a tool for creating music by writing code, enables users to define their own sounds, rhythm and tone and alter parameters and values whilst playing (live coding).
This Toolkit is intended as a free, open source, bank of resources to support delivery of Sonic Pi: Live & Coding including; Sonic Pi v2.0 software, lesson plans, a set of short films, and inspirational works by artists.
The Sonic Pi: Live & Coding Research Report has been written and compiled by Dr Pam Burnard, Principal Researcher, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education - Sonic Pi: Live & Coding's Research Partner. The report includes key findings, case studies and evidence to demonstrate how Sonic Pi transforms music education.
Assessing music coded using Sonic Pi
As a result of the research we identified that teachers were looking for some guidance on how to assess music coded using Sonic Pi, both compositions and live coded performances. In this section, we identify several approaches to assessment developed by Pam Burnard and Louis Major (Faculty of Education – University of Cambridge). These encourage practitioners (teachers/artists/technologists) and pupils to work together to develop assessment practices that take the form of joint evaluations.
Sonic Pi: the program
Dr Sam Aaron has been working closely with teachers, ICT technicians, project artists and pupils throughout Sonic Pi: Live & Coding to develop the Sonic Pi program in response to user needs and abilities. Sonic Pi has evolved during the project from a compositional tool for digital music making into an instrument that can be played live (Sonic Pi v2.0).
Go to sonic-pi.net to download the latest version of the program for Raspberry Pi or Mac and access examples to get you started.
Lesson Plans and Scheme of Work
As a result of six week trials in two classes across two schools, close consultation with music teachers and Digital Music Education specialist Tim Hallas, Ross Wilson (Instrumental Music Teacher, Cambridgeshire Music) has developed a Scheme of Work (11 x 1 hour lessons) to support the Key Stage 3 Music Curriculum.
A version of these teaching resources to be released on the Raspberry Pi website (by end November 2014)
Click here for notes on set up and use of the Raspberry Pi computer in the classroom.
Click here for an extra lesson plan to teach students what a Raspberry Pi is and how to use it.
If you're a teacher and want to learn more about ways to use Raspberry Pi in school click here to find out about Picademy.
Download Sonic Pi code for a version of Get Lucky by Daft Punk - a good example of how to use Sonic Pi to make an arrangement of an existing song.
Summer School: plan, guide and additional resources
The delivery element of Sonic Pi: Live & Coding culminated in a five day Summer School hosted by Cambridge Junction at the end of July 2014 for 10-14 year olds. This was billed as an 'amazing five day adventure in live coding' and attracted 60 young people from the Cambridge area ranging in ability, prior knowledge and interest.
The key components of the Summer School were:
- Getting to grips with Sonic Pi as a tool for composing and performing music
- Discovering what live coding can be via a series of live coding performances from guest live coders
- Getting a taste of live coding performance via a Live Coding Battle
- Building performance skills via a conducted performance of soundscape compositions
- Building music coding and performance skills towards a final group / individual showcase performance
Download Sonic Pi code for a version of Get Lucky by Daft Punk - an example mentioned in the Summer School guide.
Download An Introduction to Sonic Pi - a Powerpoint presentation used in the Summer School.
External link to a Youtube playlist of live coding performances.
How to make your own Sonic Pi Controller
Sonic Pi: Live & Coding Lead Artists, Juneau Projects injected an exciting dimension to the project, especially in terms of exploring ideas for performance with Sonic Pi. Big, bright buttons 'that do stuff to and with the code in Sonic Pi' and interesting looking controllers became a feature of this project. In this part of the Toolkit Juneau Projects share some of their ideas, offer links to other inspiring artist projects and give you the code to get going with making your own run / stop and function controllers.
Arts Award: journal, guidance notes and case study
This section of the website is still under construction.
The plan is to map the Arts Award to our Toolkit so you can see which activities, within lesson plans and the Summer School plan, meet which sections of the Arts Award.
You will also be able to download sections from Juneau Projects' Summer School journal to help you deliver aspects of the Arts Award as well as additional activity worksheets. For now here is the version we used:
We anticipate that 34 young people will gain a Bronze Arts Award qualification as a result of their participation in the Summer School.
Guidance notes to be added to indicate how to gather evidence and build a portfolio by working creatively with Sonic Pi.
Sonic Pi: Live and Coding logo toolkit and style guide
A short introduction to the Sonic Pi: Live & Coding project.
A longer video showing Sonic Pi: Live & Coding in schools and our 2014 summer school.
Pop Pi videos
A series of commissioned videos by contemporary artists and musicians using Sonic Pi.