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Fractal Fun

This upcoming Sunday, we are having a special guest, Rob Flax, play some fun math-themed music for us. In anticipation of the event, I have created a “musical remix” of a fractal snowflake that I found on the Music Blocks planet. I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I do.

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Hypnotic Fractal Snowflake

As a musician, I find the patterns very interesting and have been using them as a warm-up this morning. They are deceptively unpredictable (although they follow a pattern). For those who want a fresh new addition to their scale exercises, I encourage you to download the following files and try them out. The versions below are more or less the same as the videos. (Warning: The third file is very, very long.)

Sheet Music Download

Note: Source code on following page.

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Students create their own Halloween Story Book

Today, using powerful programming concepts, students created their own Halloween Story Books with Music Blocks. This student, Nathan, shows his project first and then explains how it works in detail. Way to go, Nathan!

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Student's Halloween Storybook Presentation
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Testimonial of Music+Code and One More Opportunity for Teachers

Raley Beggs, M.M. New England Conservatory and Doctoral Candidate at Florida State University, attended one of our “What is Music+Code?” classes for teachers a few weeks ago. Afterward, he had the following to say about the experience:

I took MAP “Music + Code Intro” class as a veteran classical music performer, educator, and scholar with absolutely no experience with coding and no expectations. The course introduced me to their groundbreaking program “Music Blocks”, teaching the intricacies of coding and music concurrently. “Music Blocks” has identified and addressed a 21st century reality: coding is a remarkably valuable skillset that we interact with for hours at a time in our daily life, whether we know it or not. More impressive is that “Music Blocks” has revealed immense similarities between coding and the creative arts; particularly music composition.

Having such extensive experience with the music world and its cognitive demands, I was amazed how clear and concise “Music Blocks” explained the concept of rhythm and formal organization in music. Many students have such difficulties organizing concepts of vertical relationships (harmony) and horizontal relationships (rhythm) in their music training. Both were addressed in “Music Blocks”. Time is perhaps the most important dimension to understand in music, and “Music Blocks” makes it simple by allowing students to experiment with values, fractions, durations, repetitions, and so much more. It was a simple and refreshing new way for me to understand music that I had never considered.

Pattern recognition and experimentation are skills developed and rewarded with music training. What I didn’t know is that the very same skills apply to coding. I have never seen code, much less created it, and by the end of my hour session in “Music + Code Intro” I found myself excited to try new combinations and patterns in my own project! I will never see coding the same after realizing how similar it is to music composition.

I enjoyed this course so much that I plan to implement its lessons to my own teaching and performing, as well as recommending my own students to give it a try! My time with “Music Blocks” has changed my understanding towards coding and my own professional understanding of music education.

One more chance to learn!

We are very proud to be sharing a tool that teachers may use for their own exploration of music as well as to help explain the basic concepts in music.

This Wednesday, we are having another event for teachers to learn “What is Music+Code”? Register now at https://online.mapflc.com/events/what-is-musiccode-an-intro-class-for-teachers/

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July Music+Code Hackathon

Teddy Hacking with Music Blocks

Are you a parent interested in enrolling your kid in a fun and educational activity?

Our Music+Code Hackathon offers classes to help kids get started with the Music Blocks visual programming language, a fun and powerful tool that combines music and programming. Students will learn the basics in classes led by MAP instructor Devin Ulibarri. There will be six classes over the course of two weeks plus a showcase for students to show and talk about their creations and process.

If this sounds like something that interests you, please check out our registration page for more details.

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June Music+Code Hackathon

Teddy Hacking with Music Blocks

Are you a parent interested in enrolling your kid in a fun and educational activity?

Our Music+Code Hackathon offers classes to help kids get started with the Music Blocks visual programming language, a fun and powerful tool that combines music and programming. Students will learn the basics in classes led by MAP instructor Devin Ulibarri. There will be six classes over the course of two weeks plus a showcase for students to show and talk about their creations and process.

If this sounds like something that interests you, please check out our registration page for more details.

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Three Events for Teachers

Screenshot from a music+code class. Scales being shown with Music Blocks and a keyboard.

Are you looking for a fun new tool in your “teaching toolbox”?

MAP instructor, Devin Ulibarri, will be hosting a series of online talks to orient teachers with Music Blocks, which is a fun and powerful tool you can use to teach kids musical concepts.

Event information and registration is published at https://online.mapflc.com/events/

  • Registration is free for instructors.
  • Access credentials will be sent out a few days before the event.
  • Instructors who complete one of these introductory classes will be eligible for stipends for referring their students to our June Hackathon ($100 for the first student and $50 for each student after the first. Limit of 5 for a total of $300.)
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Website: A New Look

kid with computer

MAP Family Learning Center began in Malden, MA in 2019, and we are very proud to still be headquartered in Malden. This being said, the coronavirus pandemic has moved us to focus entirely on online learning.

“Online” Subdomain

Our intention with the MAPFLC (MAP Family Learning Center) venture is to create a framework teaching artists could use for themselves. How nice would it be if musicians and artists had a “one-click” solution to starting their own school? (As a musician myself, I know that this sort of option would have been a very desirable post-graduation career prospect.) Malden was the first location, and I made myself the first guinea pig, working as the head teaching artist at our Malden location.

For those who may not know, a subdomain is the part of the URL before the “mysite.com” (“www” is the most common subdomain). My vision as I created the website was that teaching artists could benefit from the MAP brand by being connected to our network, while still being “local”. Since the first locality was “Malden”, I made “malden.mapflc.com”. I imagined a teaching artist, for example, in Chicago, would be “chicago.mapflc.com”.

Note to Teaching Artists: Since the website functionality is already built, it really is just a “click of a button” to start someone with their own website on mapflc.com. We continue to work on creating our framework, but we hope that this is something that can add value to what we can do for you.

Since the learning is all happening “online” for much of the foreseeable future, we started “online.mapflc.com”. Doing this also allowed us to redo our look and feel from scratch, now that we have learned more about making a nice website.

Who made the website?

Music+Code instructor, Devin Ulibarri, in the spirit of learning new things, took it upon himself to learn how to create a website by creating mapflc.com. Art instructor, Chie Yasuda, helped choose the theme and guide the general “look and feel” of the website.

What is the toolkit?

The website is built from WordPress, which is distributed at wordpress.org. WordPress is free/libre software, and allows us the freedom we need to extend its functionality.

We used many plugins, such as Booking Activities, Events Manager Pro, and Newsletter to create important features that drive the website.

Free/Libre Software and Education

The other important reason why our choice of free/libre software for the website is significant is it means that any students interested to study how our website works is free to do so. Students curious how WordPress works are encouraged to first go to wordpress.org and download the source code, which is what the computer reads to make the website run.

Music Blocks, the tool we use for our Music+Code classes, is also free/libre. You may always download the source code from Git Hub.

If you are interested in learning more about Music+Code, we encourage you to explore our class offerings.