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03/03/2016 – musicode update

So clearly I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping my blog up to date…. all of my hopes and dreams of practicing live coding during my commute haven’t really worked out. I thought I would have loads of time but usually on the train I just get my hood, pull it over my head and try and half sleep against the window, though occasionally I do end up chatting to a fellow train passenger & I have met some pretty interesting people so far.

I listen to a lot of podcasts on the train, currently working through Code Newbie, Ruby Rogues and Giant Robots podcasts. I am averaging about 3 a day, useful because it feels like you are learning whilst putting in minimal energy. Sometimes I write in a notebook but not much on my laptop. I am not sure why, maybe to take up less room physically, maybe it feels more “mind clearing”.

I don’t feel too bad about it as it has been quite a rough month personal life-wise and there have been just lots of changes in general. I am really happy in the new job and my colleagues have gone out of their way to help me settle in and feel welcome, but taking in so much new information is tiring and with all the other activities I do out of work, I have just had to prioritise those. I am however very lucky to be surrounded by and working with amazing developers so I feel like my coding skills are daily improving pretty quickly, which can only be beneficial for live coding.

That being said, music-wise all is not lost. I have started learning a beautiful solemn and reflective piece called Plainte “Lamento” by a Brazilian composer named Marco Pereira. Here is a guy playing it on Youtube:


A really amazing resource I came across (thanks to a link from my friend Katie-Jane) is this Machine Learning for Musicians and Artists online course delivered by Rebecca Fiebrink for Goldsmiths University. I have not got very far into it yet due to no time, so apologies for the vagueness of the overview, but from what I have seen so far, Rebecca clearly demonstrates ML constructs in a way that doesn’t necessarily pre-require coding knowledge. As an introductory tool, she built a program named The Wekinator which you can download and then use to train data sets using the Wekinator’s GUI . This enables you to see/play with the results in a tangible way. You can then work through assignments in the language of your choice. Thinking back to Machine Learning at uni, I don’t think I really got how the different shaped clump structures we were studying really related to a fun practical application so I wish this course was there back then. I am looking forward to having a free weekend to try and power through this course and write about it properly.

Finally I do have a solid reason to get my Sonic Pi practicing on as I will be volunteering at another ‘Create your own Digital Music with Sonic Pi! (ages 10-14)’ with Jacqueline from Curiosity Hub at the end of the March in Horsham. Should be really great and I am hoping it will make for an opportunity to do a live code demonstration and see how it goes down with 10-14 year olds… and their inevitable brutal honesty.

I do plan to write more about music and creative coding than I have been, so I will update as an when I can :)