Published: Feb. 18, 2020

Computer screen showing a piano keyboard with the computer attached to a breadboard.A series of free workshops designed to help musicians and technologists collaborate were offered by CU Boulder’s ATLAS Institute during the spring semester.

Held weekly, the Music Technology Workshop Series was designed to connect those interested in music technology with faculty and students from ATLAS, CMCI and the College of Music,  said Torin Hopkins, the workshop coordinator and an ATLAS PhD student who researches music interaction and music technology in Professor Ellen Yi -Luen Do's ACME Lab.  

“The workshops provide a space where ideas are born, alliances are made, where performances get inspired and people discover what they can really do," he said. "Through these workshops, we hope to empower the next generation to forge alliances between performers and technologists."

Planned workshop topics included "Connect Music to Neopixels," "Music Software Tools for Teaching and Learning Music," "Introduction to Supercollider" and "Creative Instrument Building with Makey Makey". COVID-19 interrupted the series midway, but Hopkins says they are committed to continuing the series in the fall semester if it can be done so safely.  

In addition to Hopkins, instructors included Wayne Seltzer, ATLAS technologist-in-residence; Pete Pascente, CTD master's student; Mariana Tamashiro, CTD master's student; Matt Bethancourt, TAM director and senior instructor; Ian Hales, ATLAS instructor; Hugh Lobel, scholar-in-residence, Critical Media Practices; and Sean Winters, CMCI lecturer.

"The real goal is to build a stronger community interested in music technology by providing a space for people to meet, practice and help each other learn," said Hopkins. "We're bootstrapping a music-tech community."

Hopkins, Seltzer and Pascente previously collaborated to create Jam Station in Do's Music Technology and Wellness class.  Jam Station is a collection of homemade instruments that encourage musical improvisation among non-musicians. The project was displayed at Maker Made 2020 at Boulder Library’s Canyon Gallery, and the work has been submitted for academic conferences and maker fairs.