What is the course about?
This course gives you all you need to get started using the open source electronics platform Arduino, with a particular focus on sound and music making. The Arduino platform is intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects and environments and is increasingly being used as a creative platform for music and sound.
The course will cover programming using the Arduino programming language and the Arduino develoment environment.
The course is taught as an introduction, and no previous experience in programming, electronics, or indeed music is required. However basic computer skills are necessary. Tutor: Dr Charles Matthews.
What will we cover?
- An introduction to Arduino hardware and software: analog and digital inputs and outputs, Arduino connectivity
- Basic electronics theory and practice: components, connections, and safety
- Basic Arduino programming: creating programs and uploading them to the Arduino
- Working with sensors: setting up and experimenting with sensor circuits, and programming the Arduino to analyse and act upon them
- Working with actuators: using various components to create sound, light and motion, such as lights, servomotors, and piezos
- An introduction to Max/MSP: building blocks of sound generation and connectivity between Arduino and Max/MSP
- Connectivity with other audio software environments, such as Logic and Ableton Live.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Connect basic sensors to Arduino
- Understand and describe the basic electronics used in working with Arduino
- Upload project code to Arduino
- Modify and write basic Arduino code
- Use Max/MSP to read sensor signals from Arduino
- Control basic motors with Arduino using Max/MSP
- Apply sensor signals to musical parameters in Max/MSP
- Describe how Max/MSP communicates with the Arduino board
- Describe the basic and potential functionality of Arduino
- Develop an overview of the possibilities available in combining Arduino and Max/MSP.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is intended for anyone new to using Arduino for musical projects. Experience in Max/MSP programming will be a bonus, but the class will be taught so that complete beginners can get started, and collaboration will be encouraged.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
We will be allotting a good deal of hands-on time, so any ideas for projects participants might want to get started on will be welcome, though there will be plenty of tutor led exercises to encourage experimentation.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Memory stick/storage device for saving work, notepad and pen. All Arduino equipment for the course will be supplied.
Arduino equipment is cheap, and the tutor will advise on what you would need to carry on after the course is finished.
A basic Arduino Uno board, of the type used on the course, costs c.£20. There are many alternatives with extra features (max. cost c.£60). An Arduino starter kit costs £40–50.
You might also want other items such as a breadboard, cables, sensors, motors (all small and cheap), depending on how complex your projects are.
You can find out about Arduino kit on the Arduino website [external website].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may wish to move on to:
- take our more extensive course in Max/MSP
- explore your creative side further through Sonic Arts
- develop your skills through other courses in Music Technology and Digital Audio Production such as GarageBand, Logic, Mixing and music production, Mixing and mastering, Vocal recording techniques or
For advice email the music office or phone us on (020) 7492 2630
- explore outlets for your music through Music business skills, Promoting your music online, Wordpress for musicians.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details