Using Music To Teach Coding

Updated: Mar 31

May 12th, 2021

Nikolas Zetouni


It’s extremely important that as educators we connect to students in whichever medium speaks to them. You may have someone who is an extremely talented musician but has little interest in coding and programming. You can use music to teach many coding concepts and engage more of your students.

Music is a form of code

Music notation explains to a musician how to properly execute a song, just like code explains to a computer how to properly execute a program. Both have strings (melody), they have loops (codas and chorus) and they have variables (key changes). Other music styles such as jazz also have conditionals as people will play differently depending on what their fellow players are doing.

Creating your own instrument

Using a MakeyMakey and Scratch students can create their own instrument. Scratch has a wide variety of samples already preloaded that students can start off with, but students can go a step further and create their own sounds for wacky instruments that haven’t been heard of in the past. You can even create a full band using MakeyMakey instruments like these students did here.

Get automated

Teach your students automation with a more advanced program such as GarageBand (or similar DAW). You can show them how to program the computer to do crossfades, trigger effects, and play different tracks. Along the way you’ll be teaching them to think algorithmically and be providing them with amazing 21st century skills they can take for the rest of their lives.

Final Thoughts

As a teacher, engaging all of your students can be difficult. Using Music can be a really great way to engage some students that would normally be uninterested in coding.

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