I love music I have been playing violin for over 10 years now and with a background in computer science, I wanted to bring something that would change the lives of children in areas where the public school system isn't as privileged as other areas. Music education is extremely important for early childhood development as it strengthens cognitive skills, logic and reasoning skills, and creative thinking.
What it does
ForteEDU is a website (with a plan for a very easy mobile port) that contains a library of applets for kids to pick up and play with.
So far, "Keys" (PianoTeacher) is the main applet I have managed to build over the course of the DuckHacks hackathon. It should be implement Google Cloud's Speech API to allow kids to say to their device anything from "Play me an A chord" to "Play Mary Had a Little Lamb." The Keys app shows children where on the piano the chords and notes are placed to make the familiar sounds they all know.
The second applet, "Hip-Hop" has the design aspect completed, but none of the java implemented. This applet would allow users to drag and drop different instruments onto a plane where different regions determine how fast, slow, complex, or simple their sounds are. For example, if a snare is dropped in the corner of the Complex and Fast region, the computer will play a relatively fast and complex drum pattern. When combined with the other drum instruments, you have infinite combinations of sound patterns.
How I built it
Currently, ForteEDU runs solely on Processing, which is a visual library coded in Java. The website design was made using Figma.
Challenges I ran into
The primary challenge I had was that I had a limiting scope of technical knowledge. My foundation rests in Java but I have very litle experience making applications or websites. This limitation made it difficult to get any code done but nonetheless, I managed to create a functioning piano in processing. A lack of code does not have to equate to a lack in design and therefore, much of the time during the hackathon was spent designing the website.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The concept of ForteEDU is the probably the biggest accomplishment with this project. The idea that music education is a fundamental aspect of childhood development is an idea that almost everyone can get behind which is why ForteEDU is extremely scalable.
I also reached out to the mayor's offices for the cities of Chicago and Newark to survey interest in my application. Currently awaiting a response!
What I learned
More than anything, I learned that a lack of techical knowledge does not mean you can't be creative and make an innovative idea.
What's next for ForteEDU
Scale up and up and up! I would like to recruit aid for app development from other computer scientists and software engineers. A key aspect of ForteEDU is that since it is marketed towards urban centers that can't afford to include their own music education programs, the app must be free. The help that I would enlist would be from other student volunteers who share the same interest and vision as me. Thanks for supporting ForteEDU!
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