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Gena R. Greher
Jesse M. Heines

Computational Thinking in Sound provides music fundamentals educators with a one-of-its-kind text devoted specifically to music, sound, and technology.  Using a student-centered approach that emphasizes project-based experiences, the book discusses multiple strategies to explore, create, and solve problems with music and technology in equal parts.  It also provides examples of hands-on activities that encourage students, alone and in groups, to explore the basic principles that underlie today’s music technology and freely available multimedia creation tools.

Computational Thinking in Sound is an effective tool for educators to introduce students to the complex process of computational thinking in the context of the creative arts through the more accessible medium of music.

Table of Contents

New Year’s Resolutions for the music classroom

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“If you are anything like my students, you have a great love for music, whether it’s creating it, performing it, or perhaps a little of both.  In addition, you most likely became a music teacher because you wish to share your passion for music with others, just as one of your music teachers lit that spark for you.  As we begin a new year, my advice would be to never lose sight of why you began your musical journey in the first place or the emotional hold that music has over you.  Smile more, move more, make more music, and talk less about music.  Be open to a diversity of modes of musicianship and try to help all your students tap into their innate musicality.”

-- Gena Greher

What is the most important issue in music education today?

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“With the current trend towards turning student evaluations into teacher accountability measures, we risk narrowly focusing music education to those skills based elements that can be easily measured.  As music teacher educators we need to resist the urge to succumb to the standardized testing movement and broaden our students’ notions of what it means to be musical.  We need to ensure a learner centered music education for all students that fosters creative thinking and divergent outcomes, such as composing, improvising and other forms of sonic exploration and expression through traditional and non-traditional approaches to music making.”

-- Gena Greher

Gena R. Greher is a Professor of Music Education at UMass Lowell, where she is the 2014-2015 Nancy Donahue Endowed Professor of the Arts.  Her research focuses on creativity and listening skill development in children and examining the influence of integrating multimedia technology in urban music classrooms, as well as in the music teacher education curriculum and School-University partnerships.  Recent projects include: a music technology mentor/partnership with UMass Lowell music education students and two local K-8 schools; SoundScape, a technology-infused music intervention program for teenagers with autism spectrum disorders; and Performamatics, a National Science Foundation-supported project linking computer science to the arts.

Before entering the education profession and crossing paths with Jesse, Gena was a music director in advertising, working for several multinational advertising agencies producing the jingles and underscores for hundreds of commercials.

Gena may be reached at Gena_Greher@uml.edu.

Jesse M. Heines is a Professor of Computer Science at UMass Lowell with a strong interest in music and its power to interest students in computing.  He teaches courses on graphical user interfaces, web programming, and object-oriented programming with C++, and has taught the Sound Thinking course with music professors S. Alex Ruthmann (now at NYU) and Daniel A. Walzer as well as with Gena.  He was the Principal Investigator (PI) on the National Science Foundation (NSF) CPATH award that funded our original development of Sound Thinking, and he is currently the PI on the NSF TUES Performamatics award.

To keep music alive in his own life, Jesse sings with the Lowell Gentlemen Songsters chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and Fireside, a registered barbershop quartet of the Society.  Much more information is available on Jesse’s website at https://teaching.cs.uml.edu.

Jesse may be reached at Jesse_Heines@uml.edu.

Sound Thinking Course Website

The course website for the last year that we offered the Sound Thinking course is the only one that is still online.  Click the link for that course to go to its course website.

  • Spring 2016 course co-taught by Gena Greher and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2015 course co-taught by Dan Walzer and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2014 course co-taught by Gena Greher and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2013 course co-taught by S. Alex Ruthmann and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2012 course co-taught by Gena Greher and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2011 course co-taught by Gena Greher and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2010 course co-taught by S. Alex Ruthmann and Jesse Heines
  • Spring 2009 course co-taught by Gena Greher and Jesse Heines

Additional Teacher Resources