Steinhardt MuseEDLab Joins White House and Herbie Hancock to Launch "Math, Science & Music" Initiative


Alex Ruthmann, associate professor of music at the Steinhardt School MusEDLab at New York University, will join jazz legend and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock; US Secretary of Education John King; and colleagues from leading institutions around the country to announce the launch of Math, Science & Music at the US Department of Education on April 26.

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Groove Pizza, a rhythm-creation interface that facilitates STEM learning, is one of the applications MuseEDLab will be incorporating into the international MathScienceMusic.org initiative.

Alex Ruthmann, associate professor of music at the Steinhardt School MusEDLab at New York University, will join jazz legend and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock; US Secretary of Education John King; and colleagues from leading institutions around the country to announce the launch of Math, Science & Music at the US Department of Education on April 26. Spearheaded by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, MathScienceMusic.org is a groundbreaking education platform with free, engaging curricula, games, apps and other online elements that use music as a tool to teach math and science to K-12 and college students.

The announcement was made as part of the International Jazz Day worldwide celebration and will address the growing need for young people to gain skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and learn to think creatively. Ruthmann is one a team of advocate scholars involved in developing the program, which also includes Endre Balogh and Susan Courey of the University of California (UC), San Francisco; Jeanne Bamberger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and UC Berkeley; Gena Greher of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Vijay Iyer and Rajna Swaminathan of Harvard University; Dan Naiman of Johns Hopkins University; and Eric Rosenbaum of the MIT Media Lab. The program will initially be offered in English, and in later years will be available in other languages.

“International Jazz Day places a strong emphasis on education programs and community service,” said Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. “Many of these worldwide programs are now provided year-round in big cities, small towns, and even remote villages. It is a testament to all those involved with International Jazz Day that we are reaching people on every continent, including some of the most vulnerable and challenged individuals and communities.”

Ruthmann’s involvement in the initiative emanated from the various tools and applications being developed in Steinhardt’s MusEDLab on the intersection of math, science, and music - some in cooperation with Rosenbaum, who is currently a visiting scholar at the MusEDLab. Two of the applications most applicable to this initiative are Groove Pizza, a circular rhythm/groove creation interface fostering cross-subject connections to math, shape, and visual art and developed by Ethan Hein (Steinhardt '13), Adam November (Steinhardt '14) and Ruthmann in collaboration with online music recording studio Soundtrap; and aQWERTYon, which allows users to play their computer keyboard like an expressive instrument.

As part of the US/UNESCO initiative, NYU MusEDLab will build out MathScienceMusic.org, a free toolkit for teachers and students from kindergarten through college, bringing together resources in math, science and music. The site will launch next month.

“It's been an amazing opportunity for the students working with the NYU MusEDLab to collaborate on such an important project,” said Ruthmann. “We're very excited to launch our new GroovePizza tool, which provides students and teachers a playful way of exploring math and shapes to create cool grooves. Students will be able to continue working on their grooves with Soundtrap.com's online music production platform. We're excited about our collaboration.“

Links: https://www.facebook.com/MathScienceMusic and http://twitter.com/mathscimusic and http://mathsciencemusic.org/

The Music Experience Design Laboratory at the NYU Steinhardt School researches, designs, and develops new technologies and experiences for music making, learning and engagement together with community and industry partners. This includes incubated student-led entrepreneurial projects, industry/community sponsored-research and development, and external foundation-funded research. Visit http://musedlab.org/ for more information.

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