EarSketch teaches computer science through music composition and remixing! No prior knowledge of either computer science or music is needed. See “More About EarSketch” below to learn more about the software.

I’m a student, how do I get started?

Access the latest version of EarSketch here.

To begin the curriculum, click the “Welcome” link on the table of contents on the left. You will first be introduced to various aspects of the software you will be using and the EarSketch website. From there, you will learn the basics of programming in EarSketch and create simple songs. Later lessons will focus on more advanced computer science concepts that will help you make your songs more interesting. It is recommended that you step through the curriculum in the order it appears in the table of contents. Click here to begin!

I’m a teacher who wants to teach EarSketch, how do I get started?

Access the latest version of EarSketch here.

We recommend that you go through the first two modules of the student curriculum to familiarize yourself with the components of EarSketch: Unit 1 (Getting Started) and Unit 2 (Effects and Beats).

Next, you should access the teacher curriculum, which is designed to help computer science teachers with little or no music knowledge begin teaching EarSketch in their classrooms. It will teach you music concepts, rhythms, pattern and variety, and effects as they relate to music programming in EarSketch.

Finally, we recommend that you complete the student curriculum to get an idea of what students will be learning and doing.

More About EarSketch

EarSketch engages students in computing principles through collaborative computational music composition and remixing. It consists of an integrated curriculum, software toolset, and social media website. The EarSketch curriculum targets introductory high school and college computing education. The software toolset enables students to create music by manipulating loops, composing beats, and applying effects with Python code. The social media website invites students to upload their music and source code, view other students’ work, and create derivative musical remixes from other students’ code.

EarSketch is designed to enable student creativity, to enhance collaboration, and to leverage cultural relevance. This focus has created unique advantages for our approach to computing education:

  • EarSketch leverages musical remixing as it relates to popular musical forms, such as hip hop, and to industry-standard methods of music production, in an attempt to connect to students in a culturally relevant fashion that spans gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • EarSketch focuses on the level of beats, loops, and effects more than individual notes, enabling students with no background in music theory or composition to begin creating personally relevant music immediately, with a focus on higher-level musical concepts such as formal organization, texture, and mixing.
  • The EarSketch social media site allows a tight coupling between code sharing / reuse and the musical practice of remixing. Students can grab code snippets from other projects and directly inject them into their own work, modifying them to fit their idiosyncratic musical ideas.
  • EarSketch builds on professional development techniques using an industry-relevant, text-based programming language (Python), giving students concrete skills directly applicable to further study.

EarSketch is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative that was created to motivate students to consider further study and careers in computer science. The program, begun in 2011, is focused on groups traditionally underrepresented in computing, but with an approach that is intended to have broad appeal.

EarSketch was developed and is overseen by Brian Magerko, an Associate Professor in the Ivan Allen College’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and Jason Freeman, an Associate Professor in the College of Architecture’s School of Music.

Please contact us with questions or feedback, join our announcement list to receive occasional news and EarSketch updates, and join our user list to discuss EarSketch with others.

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EarSketch receives funding from the National Science Foundation (CNS #1138469 and DRL #1417835) and from the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation.