Chrome Music Lab
“Chrome Music Lab” is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun and hands-on experiments. It can be used by teachers as a tool in their classrooms to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. You can basically use it to programme your own musical pieces with the help of easy to understand visualisations. You can also combine it with dance and live instruments.
Material and technical aspects
“Chrome Music Lab” is a free to use web application that runs in a browser, no account needed. It runs on “freely accessible web technology such as Web Audio API, WebMIDI, Tone.js. The open-source codes are available on Github. The tool itself is relatively easy to use, just try it out and see what happens.
“Chrome Music Lab” is about playing around with music and its structural elements. In terms of computational thinking, it offers opportunities to manipulate instructions to produce musical notes and (repeating) patterns. There are obvious connections to explore between musical composition and science, mathematics, and arts.
From a pedagogical point of view, this learning resource allows teachers and learners to freely create their own music in a variety of ways, either by reproducing existing musical piece (learning by imitation) or by trying out (learning by experimentation) what happens when you do certain things. This tool can be used to learn about computational thinking if teachers present and discuss musical composition as a computational problem, e.g. patterns can be extracted from existing pieces or introduced into new pieces. The main power of this tool is the freedom to create that it puts into the hands of students. However, it requires the attention and assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable teacher to create learning activities that go beyond the simple use of it for free creation and lead to more abstract thinking about patterns, repetitions, regularities and loops and thus to make the connection between music and programming explicit.
Overall, “Chrome Music Lab” is a highly recommendable pedagogical resource that offers a wide range of opportunities to teach coding and programming with the help of fun, hands-on and creative tools in the context of musical creation, which helps to make interesting connections between different school subjects!