It is almost the end of May, and I have been doing online classes and staying at home for nearly three months. While quarantine, everything was in the same routine, and I quickly got bored and started to look for something interesting to do. I put on my earbuds and started listening to my playlists from the very beginning.
I reminded myself of the things that people did on social media. Recently, I saw many people around the world trying out new activities such as baking, drawing, and carving. I was motivated by them and decided to play an instrument instead of going over my playlists over and over again. So, I started playing the piano. With a sudden realization, I thought making my own song with my own melody will be a unique experience.
Before I started creating, I doubted whether I would be any good because I knew that creating a song would require extensive coding, which I am not skilled in. However, after listening to many songs from many different composers, I was sure that I could make a unique piece of my own. So I went to Earsketch, a website which allowed me to create a piece of music even with basic coding knowledge.
Earsketch is a music-coding program that was created by the George Institute of Technology. This program teaches coding in two languages: Python and Java. Earsketch operates with the same code for Python and Java, which allows students to compose and remix musics. There are diverse people who are members of this program such as college students, high school students, and even middle school students. Since it is easily accessible, many people could enjoy without much pressure. Earsketch contains many units and chapters that demonstrate concepts of coding. Students are able to code using different music clips by going through each units that gave out specific instructions. Moreover, as people search for things to do during spare times, Earsketch popularity increased. In fact, as COVID-19 started, the number of platform users increased dramatically.
Unfortunately, though, Earsketch was new to me, which made it difficult to start coding. I watched a lot of “Introduction to Earsketch” videos. The site had links to many videos that users could easily access to that were all very informative and taught me step by step how to code. It was mostly a series of beginner tutorials where instructors start by describing the definitions of each function.
|[Introduction to Earsketch video (photo taken by Minji Kwon)]|
Earsketch provides the users with beats and rhythms in the genres of EGM, hip hop, instrumental, classic, rap, and many more. Users can combine those short pre-stored clips to make any type of music that they want. Video explained some helpful codings that users could use, like “for loop” and “if statement.” The first allowed the code to be repeated continuously under a prewritten condition, while the second allowed the code to execute when it satisfied either the if, elif, or else condition.
After watching those videos, I navigated through the features and familiarized myself with the whole system. I organized my song through seven sections: introduction, chorus, verse 1, chorus, transition, verse 2, and chorus. I could arrange my song with any rhythms and beats as long as the chorus stayed the same. I used the song clip “Common Love,” which allowed me to insert lyrics. As a person who enjoys listening to hip hop and rap, I added many electronic sound effects that elevated the whole mood. I used the “for loop” and “def” functions with basic coding knowledge that I learned previously at school. The def function allowed me to define my function, and for loop allowed the code to repeat during the set range. I hit the run button several times to make sure my song flowed well. As I was inserting and deleting song clips, I felt like I was already working as a professional music editor. Finally, I came up with a song that was moderately satisfactory.
|[A section of the coding I did (photo taken by Minji Kwon)]|
After composing my song, I uploaded my music to ‘Soundcloud.’ Soundcloud is a European audio platform for music sharing. Soundcloud was popular among my peers, and my friends were amazed when I told them I had my own music registered in it.
|[Uploading my music on Soundcloud (photo taken by Minji Kwon)]|
I asked my friends and my relatives to listen to my music. Even though it took me a long time to code and ran my music, I thought it was overall a valuable experience, which allowed me to maximize my potential. Not only learning how to code and make music, but I also gained confidence in myself.
If I get bored again during quarantine, I will try to create another music. Even after COVID-19 is over, I will still continue to make my own songs so I can gain confidence and make unique piece of music for myself.
Sophomore (Grade 10)
Seoul Scholars International
Minji Kwon email@example.com
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