By Kristin Livingston, A05. From the Fall 2012 issue of Blueprint.
Ever wanted to build a synthesizer? Or create your own digital drum set? Or learn how to sing without paying for voice lessons? There’s an app for that—or there soon will be, thanks to Tufts engineers and a pioneering course called “Music Apps for the iPad.”
Music Lecturer Paul Lehrman, AG10, and Computer Science Lecturer Ming Chow, E02, EG04, teamed up last spring to create a course that would foster musical composition and competition, teach the basics of music and mobile development, and hopefully create commercially viable apps, setting talented students on the path to early business success.
Funded by a grant from renowned piano makers Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc., the course, says Chow, was an instant hit. “It was filled within a few hours.” Over the semester, students spent 25 percent of the time working with local app developers and guest lecturers in music theory; the other 75 percent was spent on the coding. Final projects ranged from sound mixers to auto-soundtrack systems that can detect the mood of YouTube videos and suggest a soundtrack from a library of music.
Chow is very grateful to Steinway for opening up creative academic opportunities and hopes to repeat the course this spring. “I liked what Steinway was interested in: anything that can help facilitate the new generation to play music and share work with people all over the world.”
Take a peek inside the “Music Apps for the iPad” class: