3 lessons I've learnt helping children embrace the amazing fusion of coding and music, aka Sonic Pi

Since the first class, one of my biggest goals and focus was to maintain the excitement and progress of the lessons. I was wondering whether the novelty factor would wear off, would they lose interest?

Not a chance!

It’s been 5 weeks now, and they’ve been progressively learning each lesson content and successfully applying it to their music. What’s been really encouraging is that they’ve also understood the purpose behind the coding principles.

Recently before the class around Functions, Variables and comments, I wondered whether this would be “dry” content to them given it was around coding fundamentals and not new sounds or effects.

Well, turns out I was worried about nothing.

First, it was awesome for them to realise how it was a better way to structure their song, by making it easier and faster to maintain. I’m really happy they’ve started to place more value on writing less lines of code too!

Second, it was yet another opportunity for them to express their identity - check out these comments! (I know I know, they’re supposed to describe the intent but hey, I thought it was cool!)

Three key things I’ve learnt that help keep the students motivated and engaged are:

  1. Put in the effort to make it relevant and contextual - show how it applies to the websites or apps they use
  2. Believe in their capabilities, and it’s OK if it doesn’t happen straight away for everyone
  3. Have faith they’ll find ways to make it interesting and own their learning journey

Given how children generally see things with a (positive) blank canvas, love learning and trying new things - I actually wonder how adults and children could pair program?! I reckon they’d cover a lot of my blind spots for sure!

The next few weeks, they’ll be creating their own song or soundtrack, so I’m super pumped to see what they come up with! I might experiment with how they can collaborate with their current physical instrument too!