Phase I: Play with the MaKey MaKey to figure out how it works
The kits vary somewhat, but all should have something resembling the photo below: (1) the MaKey MaKey itself, (2) a usb cable to connect it to your computer, (3) alligator clips, and (4) connector wires.
So what does this thing do? Not much, and yet, so much at the same time. It tells your computer, "Hey, I'm a keyboard! You can use me instead of the arrows keys, some of the letter keys (W, A, S, D, F, G), the space bar, and the mouse click."
2. Do: CLICK HERE and choose any one of the software instruments. If you still have your spacebar connected you should be able to generate sound immediately. Now it's time to get out those alligator clips and add more buttons for more sounds. I recommend that you demonstrate you understand how to trigger multiple sounds with multiple buttons by making the following:
Note: I have yet to specify how to go about designing the physical music interface itself for any of the above examples. I'll cover my strategies for this in the next post. For now, I'm mostly concerned with making sure that participants grasp how the MaKey MaKey can be used to produce sounds.
Scratch is a free programming language we can use to customize the sounds our instruments produce. Start by going to the Scratch site scratch.mit.edu and create a free account so that you can save your work. Below I've provided step-by-step screenshots to show how to use the sounds in Scratch (or how to record your own in scratch) so that you can trigger them with a MaKey MaKey.
1. Do: Turn your MaKey MaKey into a meow machine:
Soundplant, "the computer keyboard sound triggering software," seems like it ought to be the perfect match for the MaKey MaKey, and in many ways it is. For starters, it's free (!) and you can get it here.
There are two things I do with Soundplant. The first is to simply assign sounds to keys. I've provided two screenshots below to outline how to do this.
In the example below, I assign a sample to one key and then shift it up by semitones across two more keys so that I can trigger F, F#, and G major chords.