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The Hyperscore Challenge

Welcome! We invite you to write music using Hyperscore. This web application allows you to compose music by drawing dots and lines on the screen. With Hyperscore, you can create music in any style, as simple or complicated as you want. The challenge is to complete your piece and share it online or at an in-person performance on June 21, 2024, which is Make Music Day, a global celebration of music-making.

Below is our timeline of announcements, but you can start at any time. Just be sure to plan well ahead if you want to involve others to help arrange and perform your piece on June 21.

Get started

Recruit students to join the Challenge team! Use these:

Everyone participating in the challenge will receive a free Hyperscore account for the duration of the challenge. If you want to lead a team, fill out the form below. A team can be just you, or you plus others. Only the leader should submit the form. We will send you an email with instructions to set up your Hyperscore account and join the Hyperscore Composing challenge. Once you have your group leader account, you can invite your team members through the Hyperscore team dashboard. 

Children age 13 and younger will receive instructions to get their parent/guardian’s consent at the time they create their account.

Prompt reveal

This year, we are selecting short silent films and clips from video games for the composing challenge. Keep an eye out for the prompt reveal in the first week of November. Many people find a prompt to be helpful. But using the prompt is not required. We don’t want to get in the way of your creativity!

Get practice and advice

Attend our free monthly Office Hours to learn Hyperscore tricks and get answers to your questions. It meets over Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. ET (adjust for your time zone). Sign up here to get the link and monthly alerts.

You can exercise your musical imagination at our Second Saturday composing workshops, a zero-pressure, safe and fun Zoom meeting where we collaborate on composing a new piece in just one hour. It meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m. ET. Sign up here for the link and monthly alerts.

Hear your piece performed live!

It’s amazing to hear musicians perform music you created. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Music composed with Hyperscore can be downloaded as an audio (mp3) or MIDI file. 
  2. The MIDI file can be uploaded to software that takes MIDI input (such as GarageBand, Sibelius, SoundTrap, Soundation, NoteFlight, Ableton Live) and converts it into standard notation. 
  3. You will need to arrange the score for the ensemble that will be performing it. If you don’t know how to do this, you could ask a music teacher for help.
  4. OR, you can download an MP3 audio file and play it as a digital soundtrack.

We encourage you to find collaborators in your area. It could be a music teacher, a friend who plays in a band, college students majoring in music… If you can’t find a way to have your piece played by musicians, you can share the digital version. We will post your composition on the Hyperscore YouTube and Soundcloud channels. Details will be announced as we get closer to June 20, 2024.

Support us!

We are a nonprofit organization. Your generosity makes the Hyperscore Challenge possible and enriches lives by enabling individuals of all ages and backgrounds to engage with music as active listeners, learners, creators, and connectors.


Meet the “wildlife DJ”

Chatting with Ben Mirin was one of those unforgettable meeting-of-minds moments. Ben has recorded a Noah’s ark of animal sounds in the wild and then remixes this non-human chorus with his own beat boxing. It’s entertaining, but it’s more than that. Ben is on a mission to use music to make people care deeply about our natural world–protecting endangered species and restoring habitats.

This resonated with us. One of the core ideas we emphasize in our work is “active listening” — opening up your ears to hear the world around you fully. We want you to become attuned to the wealth of information that sounds carry to our brains but also to become aware of the feelings these sounds stir in us.

In our 45-minute conversation, we cover some of the diversity of Ben’s output. He shares video from Indonesia of the amazing vocal prowess of male birds of paradise. We get to enjoy a video of Ben’s beatboxing video from the National Arts Center of Canada’s Great Orchestra Field trip, featuring sounds from the rainforests of Kalimantan. He walks us through “BeastBox,” a game he created with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, where you too can be a wildlife DJ. (Visit Ben’s website and click on the BeastBox link.)

We talk about his journey using music technology to create his work. I ask about an idea to create a Hyperscore instrument set using bird songs with varied pitches and timbres and Ben launches into a discussion of the “acoustic niche hypothesis.”

Now working on his PhD at Cornell, Ben shares stories about his field research in Java, where there is a booming trade in songbirds. The local people prize their feathered divas, training and entering them in American Idol-style contests complete with judges, cheering spectators, and prize money that could support a family for ten years. It’s a big business that brings jobs and money into the local economy, and people are passionate about their birds, but it’s also having a devastating impact on wild bird populations. “We all love birds,” he says. He wants to build on the shared love of these wonderous creatures to “plant the seeds of conservation.”

Click on the image below to watch.

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Hyperscore music curriculum now on MusicFirst

We are pleased to announce that in collaboration with our friends at MusicFirst, our Director of Education Cece Roudabush has designed and published a curriculum for teaching music concepts and composition in Hyperscore. There are three curricula available for varying levels of experience, appropriate for 4th graders and up.

This curriculum is available in the MusicFirst Classroom resources for teachers. If you are a teacher and already have a MusicFirst Classroom account, you can log in at the designated link for your organization. If you do not yet have a MusicFirst Classroom account, your organization or school must first register with MusicFirst. Then, your administrator will be able to send you an invitation code to register for an account.

Once you are signed in to MusicFirst Classroom, you will be able to access the “Composing Music with Hyperscore” curriculum module via your dashboard:

  • From your dashboard, select the “Content” drop-down menu from the top menu bar, then click on “MusicFirst Library”:
  • Next, select the “General Music” category:
  • You will see a wide variety of courses and curricula that you can browse through. To find the Hyperscore curricula, you can filter by the “hyperscore” keyword in the search bar. You’ll see three curricula that are separated by students’ experience with music into “intro”, “intermediate”, and “advanced”. The intro level may typically be more appropriate for 4th graders, while the intermediate level and advanced level may be more appropriate for 5th and 6th graders, respectively. The higher levels delve into more sophisticated musical form and software features, while the intro level uses simpler language. For all three levels, though, no prior training in musical theory is required. Select whichever level is appropriate for the students you are instructing!

Once you select the curriculum, you will see the lessons and tasks included. You can click into each lesson page to see a detailed lesson plan that utilizes elements of the Hyperscore interface to demonstrate and teach music theory and composition principles. There are also educator resources included where you can read about the pedagogical philosophies at the foundation of Hyperscore, and decide what approach best suits your classroom.

As part of using this curriculum you will sign up your classroom for Hyperscore through MusicFirst Classroom itself, and organize your lessons and grades there. If you are using a MusicFirst Classroom trial, you will automatically have access to a trial version of Hyperscore through MusicFirst. If you do not yet have a MusicFirst Classroom account and would like to sign up for Hyperscore through MusicFirst Classroom, you can fill out the request form here.

Hyperscore has the power to inspire and enable all students to make music and explore their own creativity. We hope the resources and lesson plans we have made available on MusicFirst serve you well as you support your students in their musical journeys. Happy composing!

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Hyperscore strikes a chord with Houston summer campers

In Houston, Texas, on the morning of July 18th, 13 young music students began their second day at the Faith-2-Form (F2F) Music Foundation Music Summer Camp intently focused on making music in a wide range variety of rhythms, melodies, and timbres. In this collaborative composition workshop, they were not playing physical instruments – their musical medium was Hyperscore.

The F2F Foundation, founded by esteemed musician, composer, and recording artist Vel Lewis, is a nonprofit based out of Houston that aims to give all children, particularly youth who have been disadvantaged and marginalized, the tools to enrich their lives with music and to allow them to share their gifts with the world.

An exciting way that this mission is carried out is through the F2F Music Summer Camp, where participants – music students in Fort Bend County – are immersed in two weeks of STEAM workshops and classes led by experts in music performance, technology, software, production, business, psychology, and more.

Given our mission to enable children everywhere to discover and express their creativity through fun and accessible music composition, we are thrilled to collaborate with an organization engaged in such essential work of bringing youth and music together. After New Harmony Line Director of Education Cece Roudabush led an online composition workshop with Hyperscore at last year’s inaugural camp, we were honored to be invited back to lead a more in-depth workshop this year.

Vel, Cece, and our Chief Technology Officer, Peter, joined the 13 students on the morning of the 18th to facilitate the workshop. We began with a group composition exercise to introduce the participants to the basics of Hyperscore. One by one, Cece called on each student in the room to make a small musical decision about a shared Hyperscore piece – should a subsequent note in a given motive be higher, or lower? Longer, or shorter? Should the line move up, or down? Was the piece complete, or should we keep working on it? It was an exercise in showing how many micro-decisions come together to form a whole in the process of making music. Above all, it was an invitation to listen closely – and listen they did, with many students asking unprompted to hear a motive again before making their decision. The students acted together to compose a single piece, and it was wonderful to witness of the power of collaborative composition.

Once the students voted that the collaborative piece was finished, having established the principles of composing in Hyperscore, we moved toward individual composition, each student working on a separate device. The quiet focus in the room was palpable, and they took to using the software very quickly. A lovely dynamic emerged organically during this period of the workshop: the two students who had also participated in the Hyperscore workshop at last summer’s F2F music camp began to assist their peers who were newer to the program. Everyone was engaged and invested using the time available to create their own piece, and supported each other, too – after all, no composition is ever truly a solitary endeavor.

We always come out of workshops having learned from the participants about the various ways people learn music composition together, and more about how Hyperscore can facilitate this process. The speed and enthusiasm with which the campers took to the software was striking, and being able to cover both an egalitarian group composition process and individual composition sessions was a testament to the versatility and accessibility of Hyperscore to support different styles of composition and learning. No matter what level of expertise with the program the campers had coming in, they all came out having focused their creativity and imagination through Hyperscore.

Though the workshop had to come to a close, all students left with a demo version of Hyperscore so they could continue their experimentation and composition at home. We are immensely grateful to Vel and the Faith 2 Form Music Foundation for welcoming us back for the second year of the F2F Music Summer Camp, as well as to all the young composers who made music with Hyperscore!

Special thanks as well to the Harris County Public library for lending us tablet devices for each camper.

For more information on the F2F Music Foundation, visit their website here and get involved with supporting their important work. If you are new to Hyperscore and want to join in on sparking your own musical imagination, set up an account today.

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The Melt: Composing a song from an audio prompt

This month’s Second Saturdays Hyperscore composition workshop started with a sound:

Striking and familiar yet uncanny, this sound, which we encountered in this 2020 article from The Guardian, is that of Antarctic icebergs melting. The sound of rushing water is punctuated by an eerie and percussive whooshing and popping sound, which, as the article explains, is the sound of primordial air breaking out of millennia-old bubbles, held no longer by the ancient, now melting, ice.

We listened to this in the context of taking inspiration from clips of sound from the world for musical composition. How might we translate the feelings that came up, and the rhythms of the sound of the melt itself, into music? We set out to find one answer to this question during the workshop.

We began by naming the feelings and atmospheres that were evoked for each of us when we listened to the sound of the iceberg. Themes arose as we spoke of familiarity, awe, uneasiness, uncanniness, and surprise. What sounded like rushing water in the clip was a familiar, even comforting sound, but the interruption of the strange popping sound gave an edge to this feeling. The additional context that knowledge of climate change gave to the sound – the melt reaching farther into the ice, and getting louder, every year – added a somber, even grim, undercurrent. We wanted to approach composition both mirroring what we were literally hearing (a constant, smoother sound punctuated by sudden and unexpected pops) and the emotional reactions that this sound and its context created in us.

Moving into Hyperscore, we decided to start with some melody windows that could serve as an ambient, slow backdrop to the piece, using notes with long durations and in a low register, using a timpani and strings for our instrumentation.

We then created some strokes to correspond to these motifs in the Sketch window. The result was melodically tense and rather menacing.

We had our “consistent” sound which we then wanted to break up with unexpected interruptions and percussive splashes. To add a rhythmic yet unpredictable element we composed two faster-moving melodic motifs on pizzicato strings – one with a measure broken up into 3 notes of equal value (in other words, a half-note triplet), and one with a measure broken up into 4 notes of equal value (in other words, quarter notes).

When played together and layered into the Sketch window, they created a kind of rhythmic dissonance and a sense of driving momentum that broke above the surface of the steady and slow sounds we started with. We decided to emphasize this sudden and inconsistent effect to introduce these new sounds in the Sketch window (represented by the light and dark green strokes) as fragments that would pop in and out before returning in earnest and persisting for what would become the climactic moment of the composition:

To add even more emphasis to this climactic section and create a mood of mounting urgency, we created another 3-against-4 rhythmic figure on woodblock in two Percussion windows and added this in the Sketch window as well:

The intensity of the climactic section increased with the addition of the orange and purple percussion motives.

We liked it but found that we were deviating some from the unpredictable sense that we got from the popping in the initial iceberg sound clip. To reintroduce that surprise, we created a version of the green motifs that was a bit more sparse, while still maintaining the 3-against-4 feel, and applied this to the green strokes only in the latter half of our piece.

We decided to tweak the percussion windows as well, making the note attacks much more rapid and inconsistent and adding in some triangle hits:

We continued on with this process of listening to our composition, reacting to what we were hearing, then making changes and additions according to our reactions. Through this process in the course of the rest of the hour-long workshop, we added a mournful, soft ambient drone of low flute and organ, and a jerking, syncopated melody played on pizzicato strings.

We arranged all of the building blocks we had created into a form that ebbed and flowed between themes of rattling urgency and dirge-like somberness. Without planning to, we ended up creating a rather atonal and dissonant piece that nonetheless carried in its undercurrent a driving movement that enthralled us when we listened to the final product. We ended by titling it, appropriately, “The Melt”.

Listen to the final, 80-second-long composition below, along with a recording of the full workshop including our brainstorming, composing and editing process.

Iceberg image courtesy of Angie Corbett-Kuiper via Unsplash

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From silence to song: writing music from curiosity alone

For the May edition of our Second Saturdays composition workshop, we chose not to write from a prompt. It can often feel risky or intimidating to face the prospect of creating “something from nothing” – where to begin? It was precisely for this reason that we wanted to experiment with this process. Hyperscore shines when composers lead with an open mind, and can help to lower the barriers of “the blank page”. Composers of all experience can learn to trust their musical intuition with the tools of Hyperscore.

Using Hyperscore, we simply began by choosing an instrument set -folk band – and putting down some notes into a percussion window. We added one percussion instrument at a time, reacting to what we were hearing when we played it back. What does this instrument sound like? Do we want fast or slow notes, on the beat or off the beat? Most importantly, how does it feel to listen to it, and do we want it to feel different? We ended up with a steady, dense rhythm that was heavy on syncopation and evoked a slow, erratic march:

Next, we moved on to add some melodies. We agreed to start by creating a bass line riff that could repeat throughout the piece, forming a solid, catchy underpinning. Going through several iterations and asking each other what we heard and what we imagined was essential for the composition process. The bass developed into a two-instrument section, with one bouncy, quick motif complementing a swaying legato figure. After listening to them all together in a Sketch window, we made some edits to the melody windows so they would stand out and complement each other better and landed on our final versions:

Adding all three motives into the Sketch window, we decided to use the Classical harmonic mode and to experiment with creating regions of tension and release with the Harmony Line. Fine tuning these sections meant plenty of listening back, making slight changes, and then listening again.

We had rhythm, a bass line and a basic harmonic structure – now a piece was really starting to develop! It was time to bring in more melody. We created two variants on one melodic theme – a lightweight twinkling dance on a music box, and a half-speed repetition of the same theme, lower and more dramatic, on guitar:

We also decided to add an additional, more stripped down version of our main rhythm theme to add some variety and interest throughout the composition.

Weaving together all the elements in the Sketch window, making edits and additions following our intuitions and desires, we landed with a piece that had an uneven yet regimented feel. For us it was evocative of animated clocks ticking in and out of time. It reminded one of our participants of the classic tune “My Grandfather’s Clock”, after which we named the composition.

Listen to the final composition below, and watch the recording of the the full workshop, including our process of brainstorming and editing:

Photo of clocks courtesy of Andrew Seaman via Unsplash

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Removing barriers to creativity with Hyperscore

Getting students invested and excited about music can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching the subject, as many educators know all too well. Students may come to conclusions early that music just isn’t for them, that they’ll never understand, or decide that they don’t want to learn all the complicated lingo and notation just to be able to express themselves. Hyperscore was built with this in mind, designed to open up surprising new avenues for learners and slip between the gaps in the barriers that block students from being able to access their musical curiosity and wonder. In a recent EdSurge feature article, music educator extraordinaire and Hyperscore enthusiast David Casali shares his personal experience of how Hyperscore inspired his classroom to express their creative talents for music in previously unimagined ways.

Musical voices blossom

Casali came across Hyperscore at the height of the pandemic, at a time when remote classes made it even more difficult to connect with students. Facing disengagement from students and wanting to find ways to bring the most reticent voices in the classroom into the fold, Casali decided to experiment. Inspired by his students’ love of playing games, he had the idea to integrate Hyperscore into Scratch, the popular program used by millions of children to program computer games, and ask his students to compose music to add to Scratch games. The experiment was a resounding success, and Casali saw the barriers falling between students and their previously out-of-reach musical inspiration. One student who was had been convinced that she had no musical talent submitted an assignment using Hyperscore and Scratch that spoke to quite the contrary! Throughout the classroom, students showed off their creative voices for music – some for the first time in their lives.

Making music education work for students

This experiment in Hyperscore and Scratch was a crucial step for Casali in rethinking how a music classroom could be relevant and accessible to students, and how to remove artificial barriers to creativity. With these groundbreaking tools, students do not have to be restricted by pre-existing ability to play an instrument or decipher the nuances of traditional musical notation. When these barriers are lifted, students can express musically what is already in their hearts and minds. They can take a leading role in their musical education rather than only following rigid and inflexible curricula. When teachers are willing to listen to the needs of their students and hear what excites them, tools like Hyperscore are there to support them in uplifting and amplifying their students’ voices.

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A space for creating music

By June Kinoshita, Executive Director

This past month, Tod Machover and I were invited to give a workshop to introduce Hyperscore and music composition at Projectory, in Seoul, Korea. Projectory is a center established by NC Cultural Foundation for the purpose of providing a space for children to give free play to their creativity without interference from adults. While South Korea’s public education system is regarded as among the best in the world, critics say it is too test-driven and brutally competitive. At Projectory, members are free to direct their own activities in any way they choose. They work with “crew members,” young adult mentors who are trained to support the children without prescribing what they should do.

In our workshop, Tod introduced the idea of composing as a form of personal expression and story-telling that could be about “anything you want.” Using a large projection screen, I then showed the basic features of Hyperscore.

The kids were then off to the races! They worked in groups of 2 or 3 brainstorming with paper and crayons to come up with topics ranging from baseball to fighting cats. They then shared laptops to compose their first-ever original tunes. We were all delighted by the results and later heard that the children are eager to keep composing. We’re excited to see if Hyperscore will take root and spread in Korea.

Here’s “RBR,” composed by Projectory members.

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Exercising creativity

by June Kinoshita, Executive Director

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the importance of creativity. “Creativity is the skill of the future,” proclaims a 2018 article in Forbes. So many skills that were once essential for a livelihood have been replaced by machines, computers and now, AI. Artificial intelligence. What remains unique to people are personal histories, their embodied experience of the world, empathy, social intelligence, and originality.

Composing music is a fantastic way to exercise our creative muscle. It is about expressing a feeling or story in order to make a connection and evoke a reaction from the listener. Musical sounds are not necessarily representational, so you can invent your own sonic vocabulary. Music is wonderfully freeing because it is abstract. You can only judge it on its own terms. Is it pretty? That’s great. Does it set your teeth on edge? Intriguing! Does it fill you with emotions you can’t put name to? That’s powerful. 

Traditional music pedagogy puts up many barriers to composition. We designed Hyperscore to lower those barriers so that more people can have access to music as a creative pursuit. Technology can be a powerful ally of human curiosity and creativity. But we don’t want technology to replace activities that are meaningful to humans. It’s a delicate balance that we work hard to maintain with Hyperscore.

Because our roots lie in the MIT Media Lab, we are of course thinking about AI. In what ways can AI enhance musical creativity? In what ways could AI undermine it?

Curious to see how good AI is in another domain, writing, I tested the capabilities of ChatGPT, an AI-powered conversationalist. I asked it to “write a 100-word creative story about my cat Muji that makes some logical leaps.” Here’s what it came up with:

“Muji was an adventurous cat with a curious mind. She was always exploring her surroundings and getting into mischief. One day, while out on a walk, Muji spotted a bird perched on a tree branch. Without hesitation, she leapt into the air, determined to catch the bird. To her surprise, the bird flew away, leading Muji on a wild chase through the neighborhood. As she chased the bird, Muji made all sorts of creative leaps and bounds, jumping over fences and scampering up trees. Eventually, the bird led Muji to a beautiful garden where she was able to catch it and bring it home as a prize. Muji was proud of her catch and couldn’t wait to show it off to her humans.”

I would give this a B or C (if I were feeling cranky). It’s a serviceable story stitched together from clichés and a literal reading of “logical leap.” A real child would likely have injected more personality into their cat, sharing their pet’s singular quirks and inventing an adventure that would have surprised and amused the reader. 

I’m reassured that machine intelligence won’t pass the Turing Test for now, at least if it were pitted against a bright eight year old. That’s probably to be expected, because current AI systems are designed to trawl huge amounts of publicly posted factoids and phrases and come up with an anodyne result. (I do wonder how older students would do, after they have been pumped full of received wisdom, rubrics, and recipes for “correct” writing….) 

It wouldn’t surprise me if engineers are already working on AI systems designed to generate something unexpected when commanded to “think outside the box.” AI challenges us to ponder what each of us puts out into the world that is unique to the individual and adds value to others’ experience. Someday soon, AI will be able to simulate creativity. We will be forced to ask, is creativity the pinnacle of human endeavor? How will our definitions of creativity shift? What is the relationship between creativity and art? What is art in an age of ingenious machines? How might we envision worlds where we collaborate with these machines in transformational and truly equitable ways? That’s a topic for a future blog post…

Image credit: “Thinking outside the box, musically,” generated by DALL-E.

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Accelerated learning for music

by June Kinoshita, Executive Director, New Harmony Line

“Next time you hear the phrase learning loss, think about whether we really want to define our students by their deficits instead of their potential.” – Ron Berger, “Our Kids Are Not Broken,” The Atlantic

As schools navigate the post-lockdown world, educators are turning to “accelerated learning” as a method to make up the ground lost over the past two years. But this moment can be about so much more than clawing back lost time. This is also a moment to open our minds to new possibilities. “Acceleration does not mean assigning some students to remediation while others are allowed to fly,” writes Ron Berger, senior advisor of teaching and learning at EL Education. “Accelerating learning means moving students into exciting new academic challenges with a growth mindset for their potential.” 

An accelerated learning approach for music education is precisely what we are championing through the use of Hyperscore and our “inverted pedagogy.”

Hyperscore is an intuitive, graphical composition tool developed at the M.I.T. Media Laboratory by composer Tod Machover and a team of musician-engineers with deep knowledge of composition, music theory, artificial intelligence, and interface design. Hyperscore has been used in Machover’s Toy Symphony and City Symphony projects, in which hundreds of school children composed original music that was incorporated into symphonic works. These children have heard their work performed by major orchestras including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Toronto Symphony, and Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

In these projects, we saw how Hyperscore completely shifted the relationship between children and professional musicians. This technology, in the hands of creative, inspired teachers and mentors, empowered children to share their stories and experiences through music. The children were treated with respect, their voices validated.

How Hyperscore works

In the Hyperscore environment, melodic motifs are created by “dropping” dots and lines in a “melody window,” a grid in which the vertical axis represents pitch and the horizontal axis represents time. Motifs are assigned a color, and then that color “pen” is used to draw a contour in a “sketch window.” The position of the line changes the pitch of the motif. Multiple motifs can be layered and combined to build more complex musical structures. A horizonal “harmony line” can be dragged up and down to create harmonic tension, release, and modulation. The user can also impose classical western harmony on the composition with the click of a button.

“My students absolutely loved creating their own songs with ease,” enthused Jenn Stiegelmeyer, the General Music teacher at Wickham Elementary in Coralville, Iowa, who tested Hyperscore in her classroom this past spring. “The program made sense to them right away and they felt very successful from day one. They came into class excited and ready to get started, and they often wanted to share their creations.”

“Hyperscore represents a quantum leap—rather as if someone could speak in a foreign language simply by deciding what one wanted to say and using one’s body in a natural way,” says Howard Gardner, the cognitive psychologist renowned for his theory of “multiple intelligences.”

Putting creativity first

Embodied in Hyperscore is a different philosophy about teaching creativity and engaging children in music. It’s a playground for kids to experiment, go crazy, have fun, and then the teacher can guide a conversation about what they just did. How does that make you feel? Why do you think that is? What could you change to get a different effect? What’s the story you want to tell? Let’s think about how we can do that.

How does this fit in with accelerated learning? According to a Carnegie Corporation report, accelerated learning includes:

  • Deeper learning through complex and meaningful problems and projects;
  • Prioritizing high-level skills and content and creating teaching and learning pathways;
  • Access to grade-level content despite the absence of some knowledge and skills from previous grades;
  • Identifying the most crucial knowledge and skills that students need and integrating those into lessons;
  • A long-range plan, building on a foundation of assets, not deficiencies;
  • Assuming all students can learn literally anything with the right instruction and support.

In the hands of teachers who understand its capabilities, Hyperscore meets all of these criteria. It empowers users to compose deeply personal, original music. What could be more complex and meaningful? Hyperscore prioritizes high-level skills, such as constructing a sonic journey, which then opens pathways to teaching about underlying ideas such as pitch, rhythm, harmony, and counterpoint. Because it starts at the high level and “back fills” basics concepts as needed, students won’t get left behind. The ideas and skills students need become naturally integrated into work on their composition, in the service of a goal that is personally rewarding.

Composing with Hyperscore enables an empathetic educator to recognize each student’s assets—their singular stories, their unique experiences and feelings—and celebrate and validate them. It doesn’t matter if the student does not know a quarter note or a key signature at the outset. They will learn it when they have a reason to do so.

Set your imagination on fire

For educators who have not previously taught music composition, or even composed themselves, the prospect of coaching a group of students to compose can be daunting. Even for those who have taught composition, it may not come naturally to overturn their traditional training. Recognizing these hurdles, the team behind Hyperscore has developed a variety of tools and resources. These include:

  • Short video tutorials on Hyperscore basics;
  • Teaching modules which map to national arts standards and can be customized for different grades;
  • Monthly office hours on Zoom for Q&A with the Hyperscore team. Educators who are new to teaching composition to students can learn tips for running creative composing workshops for different ages and backgrounds.
  • Virtual, one-hour workshops in which anyone—educators, students, the general public—can dive into creative composing experiences in a supportive, judgement-free environment.

Hyperscore is a versatile, flexible tool that serves a broad range of backgrounds and musical genres. It brings a fun, game-like element to a variety of teaching methods and curriculums. But Hyperscore truly soars when teachers recognize its unique capabilities as tool that empowers children to explore self-expression and musical storytelling.

Our mission, ultimately, is to transform individuals’ relationship to music. When children are given the opportunity to create music, they will start to experience music in a deeper, more personal way. They will begin to venture beyond what’s popular, what’s the latest earworm, and start to discern the intention behind many different types of music. When children are given the tools to find their voice, they will also be better able to hear what other voices are trying to say.

Take away the barriers that we put in the way of young people, give them permission and space to create music, and support them in drawing out their authentic voices. The results may be among the most rewarding learning experiences they, and you, will ever have.

Empower kids to tell their stories through music.