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New Years Resolution 2k16 – Become a Live Coder!

Very cliche, but as I lay curled up in a ball on New Year’s Day I had some time to think about what I wanted my New Years Resolutions to be.

There are lots of the things I want to do; the wholesome stuff…. ‘exercise’, ‘do my best at work’, ‘volunteer more’ but I am happy to say these are already fairly well baked into my routine. No doubt these are all great things, but as a result I felt that I let my hobbies slip a bit last year.

I have had classical guitar lessons since I was a tiny little 9 year old, though my dad started teaching me nursery rhymes (or whatever ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ is considered to be) when I was 6 or 7.

In 2012 I graduated with a Music Informatics degree from Sussex Uni. No one ever knows what it is, but it was a really cool course which was made up of modules from the music department and the computer science department. There were also some Computer Music modules which combined the two areas.


Granny, me and mum at graduation

I did some interning at the Open University Music Computing department during summer 2009 and after uni. I found it fascinating that they were building new projects such as Haptic Bracelets to help people learn drums through embodiment (which could potentially be used for medical rehabilitation purposes) to whole body interactive systems with camera tracking and floor projection to help teach people how harmony works. They combined music and computing to induce an outcome that could make the world better for people.

As well as this I am also in a somewhat spoilt position in that I have a pretty decent studio at home (well technically I don’t, it belongs to my boyfriend who is a producer mainly of metal music… but let’s not forget the phrase ‘what’s mine is yours’…).


4D Sounds

So I have a fair amount of experience/opportunity, but like any hobby or skill, if you don’t put in the time daily (or at least regularly) then you regress very quickly. It could be said that if you really love something then surely you shouldn’t need any motivation to do it, you would just do it, but I find when the thing you love has become quite hard and you are next-level tired it can be pretty easy to just not.

When I pick up the guitar I do love it and think “Why don’t I do this every day like i’m supposed to”, but to me its like anything… you miss a day or two, you forget stuff, you are nervous about it, it gets harder to go back in. So some active ‘setting time aside’ is only a good thing for me.

One of the best motivations is having a goal. I played at my cousin’s wedding last year and I was terrified that I would be too nervous to play. I practiced so much more in the run up to the wedding and noticed a real difference (unsurprisingly…) and survived the performance.

Since finishing uni one of the things I have spent a lot of time doing is coding. I am by no means a great coder but compared to my uni days I am in a much better place. My main goal/focus for this blog is to become a live coder (I am not too sure what qualifies this but I think it will be to do a number of performances that people seem to enjoy). The environments I will focus on using at first will be Sonic Pi and SuperCollider. I am soon to be commuting from Brighton to London so I should be able to spend some train time each day practising, providing I am still awake.

The other goals will be to do some open mic nights with my guitar and to drastically improve my music theory.

I’ll write more about what live coding is in future posts. I am aiming to keep posts short if this is in any way maintainable. I am hoping to get in touch with some established live coders for some advice and then write about them too.

Like learning any new skill it will take hours of practice and work. At first (and be warned if anyone is actually reading this) what I produce will probably be terrible and I have little idea as to what I am doing but over time I will learn… so I hope… either way, I will have a lot of fun :)

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