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{ Beats with Code } guides students on an exploration of media technology and coding concepts

Students work in a visual programming language called Max available from Cycling ‘74

and ultimately build music and sound programs

With visual programming languages users create programs by manipulating program elements graphically rather than textually


Beats With Code is an educational experience that introduces students to media technology and coding. Students learn to build music and sound making computer programs utilizing all five elements of what are collectively known as STEAM. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. Students are encouraged to take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. 1 During the process of building these programs students not only apply science, technology, engineering, and math to their work but also gain new ways of thinking about and experiencing sound and music. 

Students work with a visual programming language called Max (often referred to as Max/MSP) developed and sold by software company Cycling ’74. Max is a unique program designed for music and multimedia that incorporates a graphic user interface, which like other visual programming languages, lets users create programs by manipulating program elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually. Max programs (named patches) are made by arranging and connecting building-blocks of objects within a patcher, or visual canvas. These objects act as self-contained programs (in reality, they are dynamically-linked libraries), each of which may receive input (through one or more visual inlets), generate output (through visual outlets), or both. Objects pass messages from their outlets to the inlets of connected objects. 2

During workshop or lesson students will review previously demonstrated concepts, be introduced to new material, and have time to explore their own ideas inspired by the tools and information at hand, ultimately leading to one or more finished and functioning music or sound making programs.

Workshops will be led Doug Hirlinger, musician, composer, and technologist. In addition to a full schedule of music performance and education, Doug is a self-taught programmer, frequently building web applications and websites for musicians, artists, and institutions involved in education and the arts. 


  1. http://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/
  2. Place, T.; Lossius, T. (2006). “A modular standard for structuring patches in Max” . Jamoma. New Orleans, US: In Proc. of the International Computer Music Conference 2006. pp. 143–146.

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