A Fantasy-Adventure Approach to an Experiential Computer Music Course

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00

Speaker:  Professor Andrew Horner
                Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Format:  Seminar

Seminar Overview:

In this seminar, the presenter has shared their experience in restructuring the Computer Music course as an experiential course with fantasy-adventure lab assignments. He also demonstrated how the same fantasy-adventure approach can be applied to any course, even technical courses. Their inspiration was to set up the course like a Harry Potter potions class at Hogwarts. Just as a potion might change the disposition of someone, music rather magically modulates the mood of listeners. They made each weekly lab assignment a wild Dungeons & Dragons musical adventure into the dark arts of mood modulation. Students had a chance to explore fully how “plastic” music really is, radically adapting it to different situations. For example, they spent 4 weeks making the UST Congregation music maximally Majestic, Scary, Romantic, and Sad over 4 lab assignments. This allowed a super-strong linkage and scaffolding of concepts, and prompted in-class discussion/reflection questions that were fun and deep follow-ups to the lab adventures. The lecture sessions changed accordingly to more of a briefing and de-briefing session format that revolved around the lab assignments, where we gave students some hints, and let them explore the rest on their own. The assignments were very open-endedly experiential and emotive tasks that allowed great freedom in musical and technical approaches. It was really fun to play the soundtracks generated by all the groups in the de-briefing lecture session, since they were wildly different. Lectures were much livelier this way, and generated many delightful surprises! It made a class of 60 students feel like a group of 6!

About the Speaker:

Professor Andrew Horner researches music emotion, sound color of musical instruments, and music analysis and synthesis in the Computer Science & Engineering Department. He teaches an experiential course in computer music as well as more conventional courses in computer programming. He has received the HKUST Michael G. Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching (2001), and several SENG Teaching Excellence Appreciation Awards.

For enquiries, please contact Miss Phoebe Mok (2358-6297, phoebe.mok@ust.hk)

Organized by:

Center for Education Innovation (CEI)

Workshop Materials: