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Spotify’s Hackathon contest merges music and education in NYC

Music can fuel the teaching process. This notion was put behind the one-of-a-kind project, Music Education Hackathon, organized by Innovate NYC Schools and supported by Spotify. The initiative, which rolled out for 48-hours in its active “contest” phase in late June, encouraged a dozen of teachers and school students to collaborate with 174 hackers for apps in order to transform learning experience with music.

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Pic.: A snapshot from the www.musiceducationhack.splashthat.com website

The goal was to develop simple and smart projects that would enhance learning with the help of just one powerful element, music. The participants were offered five starting points for their work: they were asked to focus on such themes as collaboration, practice, tracking progress, working with parents, and teaching the technicalities of volume and pitch. The contestants could also use technical support provided by the Music Education Hackathon’s API Partners, search engine for music Peachnote, and music intelligence service Echo Nest.

The participants were given just 24 hours to develop their concepts, code and turn them into working pieces that were later presented to the judges in the second phase of the Hackathon.

All the winners offered a creative take on using songs and tunes for enhanced learning. For instance, Exemplify app allows to integrate songs into the very core of any lesson, adding annotating and quizzes for better comprehension. The Makey Makey Musical Construction Kit allows students and teachers transform objects around them into electronic instruments, record and play music pieces, learn chord theory and more. And the Rosetta Tone app (the 3rd-place winner), build around the idea of karaoke, simplifies the process of learning foreign languages.

View the Makey Makey video presentation below to see how the technology turns virtually any object into a musical instrument.