How to use a MaKey MaKey and Scratch to learn the piano

We have an upcoming holiday workshop at Landon Library and wanted to make something special for the event. We’ve had an idea for a while now to use a MaKey MaKey and Scratch to introduce people to playing the piano.

These two tools allow us to make playing the piano seem less intimidating, because instead of being confronted with 88 keys, you can create something that focuses on the basics in a fun, playful way.

Here’s how it’s going to work. We will label pieces of tinfoil with the notes needed to play the holiday classic “Jingle Bells” (this is a great introductory song because it only has 5 notes) and will connect these pieces of tinfoil to a MaKey MaKey.

On a laptop we will have a custom Scratch piano that we programmed to show people the correct order to touch the pieces on tinfoil in order to play Jingle Bells.

This will allow anyone (regardless of musical experience) to learn how to play a simple 5-note song.

For people will more musical experience, we’ll have printed sheet music that they can try to play on our MaKey MaKey pianos.

We look forward to running our first test with this project on Saturday and will report back with reflections on how it went!

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-The MakerBus team

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