40 Years Ago, the Sony Walkman Changed How We Listen to Music



The world changed on July 1st, 1979: the day that Sony released the iconic Walkman TPS-L2, the first real portable music player that would revolutionize the way we listened to music in a way that no other device really had ever done before. Boomboxes and portable radios had been around for a while, but the Walkman made portable music private, ushering in a whole new era of people listening to music away from home.


Forty years later and Walkmans aren’t exactly popular to use anymore (outside of things like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, anyway), but the sea change that the Walkman caused in our lives is more apparent than ever.


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Art and science project highlights importance of not blowing off STEAM




KALAMAZOO, Mich—Whether art imitates life or life imitates art is a question for philosophers to hash out. But that art imitates chemistry is no question in a unique collaboration at Western Michigan University.


The STEAM Collaboration project, funded in part by a grant from the Chemical Measurement and Instrumentation program of the National Science Foundation’s Chemistry Division, brings together students from the Gwen Frostic School of Art, WMU School of Music and Department of Chemistry. It challenges the groups to develop original works of art based on analysis by mass spectrometry.


“This is, as far as I know, the only event of its kind where students from visual art, music composition and chemistry collaborate so closely, in the sense that both the chemists and artists are involved throughout the entire process” says Dr. Andre Venter, an associate professor of chemistry who leads the project alongside Patrick Wilson, an associate professor of art and Dr. Lisa Coons, an assistant professor of composition.


“STEM students are not well prepared for the creative needs that a future career in science requires,” says Venter. “Too often our science students are trained to follow recipes, yet, to quote Albert Einstein, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.'”


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Top Tips to Engage Primary Pupils in Music Lessons




More so than ever, in recent years the focus on attainment and ‘teaching to the test’ has resulted in creative subjects being pushed to the peripheries of the education curriculum. A recent proposal by Ofsted, however, which looks at broadening the curriculum and inspecting the way lessons are delivered, has the potential to introduce these subjects back into the classroom and encourage pupils to embrace their creative flair.


Despite the educational funding crisis and workload pressures that you read about in the headlines, Glenn Carter, year 5 teacher and history lead at Ingleby Mill Primary School, wants to help inspire and educate the future generation. The first thing about engaging students, particularly primary school students, is creating memorable and enjoyable lessons. Teaching music can be a difficult task, and it’s important to find new and exciting ways to inspire the children to think about music on a wider scale and incorporate creativity and imagination into the core subjects. Using a Promethean ActivPanel as a focal point within the classroom, Glenn regularly creates songs and melodies with the help of his class to aid the children in remembering important information or difficult topics.


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Idaho Teacher Uses Computer Video Games to Teach Science




Most high schools do not use a video game to teach science. But this is how Jonathan Schaper teaches ninth-grade earth science in Lewiston, ID.  Ninth-graders from Lewiston are learning about earth science from interdisciplinary video games created by college professors. Lessons cover evolution and DNA as well as how to analyze data.


Project Hastur is the second game from Polymorphic Games based at the University of Idaho. The video game combines tower defense with evolutionary mutants to create a challenging game and an educational experience.


“Many high schoolers have a preconceived notion that a scientist is someone in a white lab coat. Many of my students have an interest in science but do not see how they can pursue it. Project Hastur shows students you can be a business major, a music major or a graphic designer and still be involved in science,” Schaper said in an interview with the Idaho Statesman.


Barrie Robinson and Terence Soule, professors at the University of Idaho in biological sciences and computer science, respectively, created the interdisciplinary video game with teams of undergraduate students in diverse degree programs.


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Project Hastur: https://polymorphicgames.com/projectHastur


How One Bold Entrepreneur Is Disrupting Music Industry Career Education



If you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school. And if you want to be a doctor, it’s medical school. How about if you want to be a music industry professional?  That was the question Dwight Heckelman grappled with for years during his own successful career in the music industry. Dissatisfied with educational options for young people, Dwight decided to create his own. At Groove U, Dwight’s ambitious two-year entrepreneurship and apprenticeship-oriented program, students learn what it really takes to break into the music industry and build a successful career.


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Student’s Sound Sculptures Explore Intersection of Technology and Art




Dillon Bastan was instructed to draw for an art class – but instead he made his own invention.


Such projects are typical for the incoming fourth-year design media arts student, who said he uses his knowledge of programming and circuitry to make art with sound. His projects incorporate music from synthesizers and sounds from the spaces around him, or include gadgets repetitively creating noise through circuitry and audio interaction.


Bastan said an appreciation of nonmusical sounds and his passion for inventing led him to begin creating art in 2015 that combines the two.


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Our Brain-computer Interfacing Technology Uses Music to Make People Happy



Whether it’s the music that was playing on the radio when you met your partner or the first song your baby daughter smiled to, for many of us, music is a core part of life. And it’s no wonder – there is considerable scientific evidence that fetuses experience sounds while in the womb, meaning music may affect us even before we are born.


Music can leave us with a sense of transcendental beauty or make us reach for the ear plugs. In fact, it is almost unparalleled among the arts in its ability to quickly generate an incredibly wide range of powerful emotions. But what happens in our brains and bodies when we emotionally react to music has long been a bit of a mystery. A mystery that researchers have only recently started to explore and understand.


Numerous studies have shown that listening to music leads to changes in activity in core brain networks known to underpin our experience of emotion.  We also know that music has the ability to affect the way in which the body behaves. Our heart rate rises as we listen to exciting music, while our blood pressure can be lowered by calm, soothing music. Scary music, on the other hand, can make us sweat and raise goose bumps.


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Pancake Art with Jasmine




OK, we admit it, we’re venturing off the path of music & technology.  This also has little to do with STEAM education, but it’s so creative, we had to share.  Please watch this amazingly creative video!


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Why Scientists Benefit from an Arts Education




In 2015, there were over nine million workers who occupied STEM-based careers, up over 5% from the previous five years. Additionally, the STEM field is the fastest growing job sector and is estimated to have similar high growth for the next ten years.


A STEM education is highly critical to your children enjoying a lucrative and successful career in the future, but focusing on only STEM skills in school is not enough. Incorporating an arts education is essential in teaching children soft skills that are necessary for their future careers in science-centric fields.

Arts education includes subjects like theater, music, drama, creative writing, sculpting, and painting. Integrating arts into a curriculum, as the STEAM philosophy does, plays a critical role in preparing students for success in more technical fields, including science. Arts can help to:

  • Enhance creativity
  • Build confidence
  • Foster visual learning
  • Introduce decision-making skills
  • Teach perseverance


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