Dr. Lauren Hayes – Sound, Electronics, and Music: A Radical and Hopeful Experiment in Early Music Education

Dr. Lauren Hayes

Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Sound, Electronics, and Music: A Radical and Hopeful Experiment in Early Music Education

Discussions of pedagogical approaches to computer music are often rooted within the realm of higher education alone. This presentation describes Sound, Electronics, and Music, a large-scale project in which tutelage was provided on various topics related to sound and music technology to around 900 schoolchildren in Scotland in 2014 and 2015. Sixteen schools were involved, including two schools for additional support needs. The project engaged several expert musicians and researchers to deliver the different areas of the course. Topics included collective electroacoustic composition, hardware hacking, field recording, and improvisation. A particular emphasis was placed on providing a form of music education that would engender creative practice that was available to all, regardless of musical ability and background. The findings and outcomes of the project suggest that we should not be restricting to the university level the discussion of how to continue to educate future generations in the practices surrounding computer music. We may be failing to engage an age group that is growing readily familiar with the skills and vocabulary surrounding new technologies.


Lauren Sarah Hayes is a Scottish musician and sound artist who builds and performs with hybrid analogue/digital instruments. She is a “positively ferocious improvisor” (Cycling ‘74), her music refusing to sit nicely between free improv, experimental pop, techno, and noise. Over the last decade she has developed and honed a deliberately challenging and unpredictable performance system that explores the relationships between bodies, sound, environments, and technology. Her work has been presented internationally (e.g. Moogfest, Ableton’s LOOP, hcmf//, NIME, ICMC, MOCO, etc.) and published in major journals including Contemporary Music Review, Computer Music Journal, Organised Sound. Her work on embodied music education, pedagogy, and technology for children won her the Best Paper Award at the International Computer Music Conference in 2016, and was recently profiled by Cycling ’74. She is a member of the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop, director-at-large of the International Computer Music Association, and is currently Assistant Professor of Sound Studies at Arizona State University where she leads the research group Practice and Research in Enactive Sonic Art (pariesa.com).