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Topic: Can children build virtual instruments?

  1. #1

    Can children build virtual instruments?

    After having read this forum for years but never posted anything, I now have a reason to do so.

    I work for a danish after school program, where I usually teach math, physics and astronomy. Another hobby of mine is SFZ-programming. I’m trying to convince my boss that we should start a project, where the kids (ages 13-18) have to design and build a virtual instrument. I don't know if they can do it or even if they are interested, but I think it's worth a try.

    I want to set it up as a SOLE (Self organized learning environment), meaning that they have to do everything themselves without any help from us. They will have to design, sample, program and test it on their own. They are allowed to use any other resource they find.

    It’s up in the air at the moment, but if I manage to start it up, is there anyone in here that would be willing to try out, whatever instrument they decide to build and provide feedback? Ask them questions about round robin, velocity layers, push them to give updates on the development and so on. I’m thinking this could be fairly easily managed in Google+.

    I specifically ask the Garritan forum because I don’t think I have ever seen a negative post in here. Everyone seems polite and constructive. I also want to use the ARIA player with one of the Garritan products which they would be able to use as reference.

    I know everyone is busy with their own things, so it’s important to state that those of you, who might be interested, don’t sign on for anything.


  2. #2

    Re: Can children build virtual instruments?

    Are you talking about having the kids make their own SFZ instrument files? Because my impression is that building a virtual instrument (i.e. a program that plays them back, with or without some type of manipulation) would be more difficult.

    I think there are several free programs that will play SFZ files. If I remember correctly, there also used to be at least one freeware app that let you build a virtual synth from various modules (i.e. plug a virtual oscillator into a virtual filter and then a virtual amp, etc.).

    Allegro Data Solutions

  3. #3

    Re: Can children build virtual instruments?

    Yes, they would be programming in SFZ. It's fairly easy to learn, very flexible and an open standard. They would not be building a player, simply use the ARIA Player. The programming is only part of it. We would use sample-based synthesis, so sampling an instrument would be another part (the school has its own studio for this purpose). Finding someone who can play it, if none of them can, would be a third thing.

    The main problem I have with school projects (the ones I have seen at least) is that children are presented with something which initially seems exciting, like building a robot. Then they are given step-by-step instructions from start to finish. They all end up with identical robots and have mainly learned to follow a recipe.

    I want to break away from that. I chosen this idea because it basically combines art and engineering. And I hope to get kids with an interest in one of those two areas, and make them coorporate, innovate and create at a level they haven't been allowed.

    There are several free players that will play SFZ files. Plogue's Sforzando Player springs to mind. I simply prefer ARIA

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