Dr Malcom Riddoch & Cat Hope: Programming Musicians: a New Approach

In 2007 WAAPA began a new music course that tied a thorough traditional music training with computer programming. The Music Technology Major in the Bachelor of music aims to produce students who can not only program interactive or compositional projects, but have a full capability in a more traditional musical background of

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aural training, harmony, history and performance. After initial learning in acousmatics, spatial music, recording, mixing and mastering music, students are introduced to programming through composition and interactive projects using MaxMSP and Jitter, moving on to C sound and the programming of Arduino’s, as well as realtime internet performances. The project based teaching and assessment structure encourages collaboration and performance in the public arena, creating a foundation for a performance research ethic beginning at undergraduate level.

This course is the first of its kind in Australia, and is developing exciting outcomes that may finally solve

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the sound art vs music debate, developing learning strategies that combine musical and scientific approaches for a range of artworks with sound as a foundation. The paper discusses the design of the course and how it differs from others, and provides detail on the way programming is taught within a music framework, and some of the outcomes to date.

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