Workshop on Designing Physical Interactions for Music

We are teaching a fully-online workshop on Designing Physical Interactions for Music through Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

This workshop will take place online over four consecutive Tuesdays (June 29, July 6, 13, 20) 9am – 5pm Pacific Standard Time .

This workshop has been taught at CCRMA for many years and for the last 3 years, we have had the pleasure of having Roger Linn as a co-teacher. Roger is the inventor of the LM-1 Drum Computer, the first programmable, sampled-sound drum machine, designer of the Akai MPC60, and maker of many amazing hardware products including his latest music controller the Linnstrument.
Taught by Roger Linn and Sasha Leitman Participants will design and build working prototypes with the aim of developing these for performance and exhibits. Further issues to be explored will include modes and mappings in computer music, exercises in invention, and applications of sensors and electronics to real-time music. The workshop will be augmented by a survey of existing controllers and pieces of interactive music.

This workshop is intended for: Musicians or composers interested in exploring new possibilities in interactive music in a hands on and technical way; Anyone looking to gain valuable skills in basic analog and digital electronics, with a focus on invention; OR Makers, engineers, computer scientists, or product designers interested in exploring artistic outlets for their talents and collaborating with performers and composers.

Alongside physical interaction design, the workshop integrates programming, electronics, audio, and interactive music. Participants will learn how to use some of the basic tools of Maker community, including the Arduino platform, Teensy Microcontrollers, sensor technologies, communication with MIDI and Open Sound Control (OSC), and physical interface design.

The workshop will cover industry-standard resistive, force-sensitive, capacitative, optical, ultrasound, magnetic, and acceleration sensors. We will also teach participants how to make their own sensors with custom geometries constructed out of materials such as conductive fabric, copper tape, piezoelectrics and everyday objects.

Online Format:
- The workshop will take place over four consecutive Tuesdays (June 29, July 6, 13, 2) 9am – 5pm Pacific Standard Time .
- We will be using Zoom sessions to present lectures on the relevant technology AND help students one-on-one with their individual projects.
- Sessions will be recorded and shared for those students who live in time zones that make full attendance difficult.
- We will be posting a list of materials and tools that each student is encouraged to purchase or acquire, and we will provide links to recommended suppliers. Our focus will be on low-cost prototyping tools such as the Teensy microcontroller, but students will be given suggestions of sensors and related electronics that will be useful for their particular projects.
- Cost $250

Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired you to do this?
We both love building hardware and it is fun to teach people how to make things that they imagine.
How long have you been doing things like this?
Roger has been working with music technology for 55 years (Sasha's guess). Sasha has been at it for for 20 yers.
Have you done other things like this?
This will be the 3rd time that Roger has taught the workshop and Sasha has lost count of the number of workshops she has taught.
What did you wish you knew before you started this?
Everything that we teach you! One of the goals of teaching someone something is to spare them the time wasted trying to figure out the best way to learn something. If you get there quicker, imagine how much more you will be able to do!
Are there plans available to make this? Do you sell this?
All lectures are posted online as the workshop progresses.

Sasha Leitman : Sound Artist
The maker Sasha Leitman
Sasha Leitman is a sound artist, inventor and educator from California. She spent over a decade teaching courses and managing the Max Lab - an Interface Prototyping Lab, at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). During her time at Stanford, she was involved at the Stanford and taught the Design Thinking methodology in courses and private consultations. She is currently working towards a PhD program in Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand where she is exploring the design of computer music controllers inspired by auditory resonance and the nuanced control of acoustic instruments.

Connect with Sasha Leitman
How I can help you:
This workshop is a great way to get started making music controllers or expand your knowledge if you already have experience. We get people from a wide range of backgrounds in these workshops and aim to help people at whatever level they arrive. Both instructors have a really strong passion for helping people create the things they imagine.
How you can help me:
Register for the workshop or share the link with people you think might be interested.