As I posted earlier, I held a Sonic Pi music programming workshop for the 9th graders of Viialan yhtenäiskoulu. It was great. I really enjoyed it.
The day was split in two sessions (a couple of hours each) and the goal was to first touch Sonic Pi gently, then get to play with it, and in the end create some sort of song. In the beginning of the first session I taught some basic principles of programming (or more what is programming) and we fired up the Sonic Pi IDE on the teacher’s video projector. After a couple of tunes half of the students were already really into it. We tried basic stuff, they asked questions and I did what they wanted to see. We also managed to figure out errors in the code they proposed both syntactically and semantically. It was great fun, and the best part was the feeling they had when they actually realized the mistakes themselves. After an hour of trying stuff together they got into their computers and started playing around with the IDE.
Most students made one or two songs during the day which was really nice. In the end we listened to them together. It was really curious to listen to the songs from the students because they were completely different. They varied very much both in terms of simpleness and what kind of tunes and sample tracks they had chosen. Some had really dug deep into making all sorts of crazy loops and varying tracks. A couple of students liked the Sonic Pi programming so much they wanted to email their code tracks to themselves so they could install the IDE at home and play the songs to their parents. Hopefully they’ll play around it a bit more and try to make something new.
What I liked the most was the environment we used to get into coding: Sonic Pi. It was really nice to play with it and show different tricks to the students because you could literally hear and see the differences a change in the code had. It was also fun. The day should have been a bit shorter so in the future I guess I prefer 2+2 hours instead of almost 5. I was a bit nervous when I got to Viiala since it was my first time teaching Sonic Pi, but I guess I managed rather well. I look forward to having more workshops (and there are already a couple planned for the Autumn!).
Checkout Mehackit’s nice material for a quick dive into Sonic Pi.