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Extension A: "Why is coding important to the future of the music industry?" (15 minutes)


  1. In small groups, read and discuss an article of your choosing.
    Why Every Band Needs a Computer Coder
    Composing Code: Why Musicians Make Great Software Developers
    Composing in Code: Musician-Programmers are Changing the Way Music is Made
  2. In your Student Notebook, answer the question: 'Why is coding important to the future of the music industry?' 
    Be sure to cite at least one piece of evidence from the article.
  3. Engage in full class discussions to share information and get feedback.
    'Why is coding important to the future of the music industry?'

Extension B: Introduction to coding activity (40 minutes) 

Wait, have you guys coded before? 

Do you know what it means to code?

Maybe you used Scratch or before and have done some coding. If you haven’t, no worries — we are going to start with something I know you do know: dancing! 

Is everyone ready to see how learning the steps of a dance is like coding?

Get ready to Cha Cha!

Watch Cha-Cha Slide (3:39)

The Cha-Cha slide is just like Code! Code is a set of instructions for a computer to perform, and the Cha-Cha slide is a list of dance moves to perform! 

Coding is also just like a recipe!

It’s just a set of directions for a computer to follow.


  1. Using code or functional notation, you will code a dance, just like the Cha-Cha slide. 
  2. In your Student Notebook, describe one dance move instruction on each line, using the following format: action (body part, direction, number of times). 
  3. Create a dance that is at least 8 lines long.
  4. When you are done, pass these instructions to a friend and have them follow your algorithm line by line. 
  5. Did your algorithm work as expected? If not, put a hashtag “#” on the line
  6. where your program crashes, and improve it! 
  7. Let’s try out my dance!
  8. Follow the dance code on the screen. 
  9. Code and share your algorithms.

The steps of the Cha-Cha slide are an algorithm. An algorithm is a set of instructions that a computer or person can follow. You use code to write algorithms. Your code is simply instructions in EarSketch that tells the computer how to play music.

Write the term, Algorithm in your Student Notebooks (Build your toolbox)

Extension C: Producing from Your Laptop (20 minutes) 

Check out how a top music producer uses a DAW and his laptop to mix and record songs from some of the most popular musical artists.

Watch Video: Producing from your laptop (Warren "Oak" Felder) (6:37)

Class Discussion

  1. What are the advantages of producing music on a phone or laptop? (Produce from anywhere)
  2.  What DAW is Oak using? (Logic Pro)
  3.  How does the DAW help Oak produce music? (Layer the tracks)
  4.  How is technology the great equalizer? (no need for studio, equipment-- It's all about creativity)

Answer these questions in your Student Notebook (Producing from Your Laptop)

Extension D: Optional Large Group Tempo Activity (20 minutes)

Part A

  • Find and display a large digital clock that shows the passing of seconds. 
  • Have students either nod their head or tap on a surface as each second passes, noticing how fast (or slow) it feels.
  • The speed that seconds pass is exactly 60 Beats per Minute. (Because there are exactly 60 seconds per every minute that passes.)
    We will use this speed as a reference to estimate the tempo in BPM of other songs!

Part B

  1. Ask students to give you the name and artist of a song they really like.
  2. Make a short list of a few songs.

For each song:

  • Locate the radio edits of the song either on YouTube or a streaming service.
  • Take a first listen to a few seconds of the song and ask students to describe the song in their own words. Here are a few guiding questions.
    How does this song feel to you?
    How does it make you want to move?
    What does this song make you think of?
  • Collect these sentiments in a list under the tempo of the song.
  • Take a second listen to a few seconds of the song and either nod your head, or tap on a surface to find the Beat
  • Ask students to estimate the tempo of the song using the seconds on a clock as a guide. Here are some guiding questions:
    Is the pulse of the song close to the same speed as seconds passing on a clock? 60 BPM
    Is the pulse faster than the speed that seconds pass on a clock? Greater than 60 BPM (>60 BPM)
    Are there more than 2 beats between each second? Greater than 120 BPM
    Is the pulse slower than the speed that seconds pass on a clock? Less than 60 BPM (<60 BPM)
  • Share a few guesses for the BPM of the song based on how much faster (Higher BPM) or slower (Lower BPM) the beat is compared to seconds on a clock.
  • After a few guesses, search the actual BPM and Genre of the song to see how close you were.