Create your own MIDI musical instrument with Scratch and the Makey Makey

STEMvsSTEAM-GIRL

Coding is the new buzz word in primary education with many schools starting to teach it with the emphasis on teaching STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

It is also possible to add in the Arts, with new research showing  that teaching STEAM (STEM + the Arts) projects significantly impact learning.

Intrigued by this, I attended a workshop on coding in the classroom run by Stephanie Kriewaldt @stephkrie to see if I could add coding into my music classroom.

I was introduced to a computer and web-based program called Scratch, which is a simple coding program for use with students as young as Grade 3.

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We were also shown the Makey Makey Invention kit, invented to be used as a fun, electronic circuit MIDI controller using conductive materials as the triggers for computer games.

Seeing the Makey Makey attached to fruit and controlling a very simple piano coded in Scratch (the fruit being the piano keys), I came away from this workshop enthused to write a 10 week unit of work for my Grade 6/7’s titled

SC_Makey Makey_FC_smallScratch Coding for the Music Room: Makey Makey Edition

as it would fit perfectly with their IB PYP classroom Unit of Inquiry on inventions.

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I started by creating some projects in Scratch myself, connecting them with the Makey Makey, setting up stations around the room for students to investigate.

 

See the slideshow below.

We also talked about virtual instruments coded for use on iPad’s and computers and discussed how MIDI instruments are played.

Check out my Scratch  Percussion with Metronome project 

 

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I created a Scratch tutorial for my students to learn to code music sounds into scratch. Then sent them off on the summative assessment task to invent their own musical instrument, by coding a virtual instrument in Scratch and then inventing their own MIDI instrument to play their virtual Scratch instrument using the Makey Makey.

The result was fantastic, my students were extremely proud of their work, so much so that they wanted to share their projects with their parents and the school community on Graduation night. Below is a slideshow of my student’s projects:

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Scratch Coding for the Music Room: Makey Makey Edition

is part of my Music Room Tech series with Bushfire Press. It includes everything you need to teach, including tutorials, scratch project files and more.

View my introduction video below.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

 

Scratch Coding for the Music Room- Makey Makey Edition