Tuesday, November 19 • 15:00 - 15:25
No tracks or graphs? Designing sound-based educational audio workstations.

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The Compose with Sounds project was set up by a network of academics and teachers across the EU with the goals of increasing exposure to sound-based/electroacoustic practice in secondary schools and creating provisional tools with supporting teaching materials to further enhance usage and exposure to music technology amongst teenagers.  This talk will present two large software tools that have been designed as part of this ongoing project. A new digital audio workstation entitled Compose with Sounds (CwS), alongside a networked environment for experimental live performance, Compose with Sounds Live (CwS Live). Both of these are scheduled for free distribution in late 2019.
Unlike traditional audio workstations that are track or graph based, these tools and the interactions within are based on sound-objects.  This talk will present the trials and tribulations of developing these tools and the complex technical and UX dichotomies that emerged when utilising academics, teachers and students as active components in the development process.
Audio software tools designed to run in school classrooms (where the likelihood of access to high powered computers is small) require careful audio and UX optimisations so that they act as stepping stones to more industrial workstations.  The talk will discuss a collection of the unique audio optimisations that had to be made to enable the creation of these tools while maintaining minimal audio latency and jitter. Alongside this, it will present various approaches and concessions that had to be made to empower students to move onto more traditional track-based workstations. 

The talk will be broken down into four sections: exploring the requirements of pedagogical audio tools;  designing an approachable UX for sound-based music; audio optimisations required to enable true sound-based interactions;  the dichotomies of designing sound-based tools that empower users to subsequently utilise track or graph-based workstations. 

avatar for Stephen Pearse

Stephen Pearse

Senior Lecturer, University of Portsmouth
C++ Audio Software engineer specialising in the creation of educational musical tools and environments.

Tuesday November 19, 2019 15:00 - 15:25 GMT
Queenhithe Room Puddle Dock, London EC4V 3DB