MaxMSP for Kids... small and big kids

    Apr 28 2012 | 2:07 am
    Hi, I'm wondering, if anyone is really working on making MaxMSP very VERY friendly to kids (well, believe or not, Pre-K, and K, and also to college-level music students who are classical musicians with no computer music background) building patches that are interactive, and require very little keyboard touching.
    Or else I have to build it myself... :(
    I am not interested so much in Jitter component, but purely musical = audio. Any pointer appreciated.
    Thanks! mari (

    • Apr 28 2012 | 9:12 am
      just started this for college-level music students and non-college folks(everyone with basic highschool math), who have no computer music background... remains to be seen if it is successful, plus, i have 2 more parts to complete by end of this year... but in case it helps:
      college-level seems like anything could work(max/msp docs have everything you might need already)... this, in particular, seems to cover essentials: and then working in max covers the rest.
      for Pre-K and K kids, no idea, at first, i'd think anything given to them and explained not too technically but more keeping within the realm of 'max patching' in general, would leave it fun enough for them to peak interest. but then i think, i'm not accounting for the exact amount of math they would know at that age(perhaps even division would be difficult? in which case, to remain interesting, they'd need a teacher around to give them something to start playing with and show them how to easily modify its behavior, then explain to them what their specific modification does in terms of simple math at least.... i probably should've spared you reading this and left it at 'no idea' :p :D ).
    • Apr 28 2012 | 2:42 pm
      It's not Max (to my knowledge), but Morton Subotnick created some software for children that may serve as inspiration:
    • Apr 28 2012 | 5:10 pm
      i just build a very simple patch for my 4 years old daughter, where she triggers different animal sounds via a padcontrol. it was very interessting to see how she selects sounds (animals she likes) from the 16 pads and layer them …
    • Apr 28 2012 | 7:23 pm
      i would build abstractions and bpatchers which follow a most simple blackbox scheme and have a max of 2 inputs and outputs, all signal.
    • Apr 29 2012 | 3:43 pm
      Wow, thank you so much everyone. For the college-level performers (actually a festival organizer), I'm looking for something what they said "easy win", plug-and-play scheme that has to be quite sophisticated and super easy to use. You guys gave me a lot of ideas. I know of Morton Subotnik's work, but again that's graphic based.... Thanks so much again, mari
    • Apr 29 2012 | 4:19 pm
      Hi Mari, I teach with Max to youth age 8 and up, including special needs youth who have motor skill limitations or other issues that keep them from using a mouse. The programs I run have been a success and I'm happy to talk with you about it in more detail if you are interested. Just message me here or at
    • Apr 29 2012 | 4:53 pm
      Apologies to Mari for hijacking the thread but
      @arokhsar As there are precious few people using Max etc specifically for people with disabilities, I'd be interested to see and hear about your work/approaches. This is a subject close to my heart (and career!)
    • Apr 30 2012 | 2:07 pm
      Me too, sorry Mari...
      @arokshar I work in a special needs school where we have a 'sensory studio'. In here I use multiple projectors, a 12 speaker setup, interactive lighting and other tech to make multi-sensory experiences and enable students to interact with scenarios using sensors, RFID, the iPad, Kinect etc. I make most things in Max and I'd like to hear what you are up to too!
      @Mari Alternative interfaces are a great start, for example: TouchOSC on the iPad or Android Switches, buttons, sensors through Arduino or similar ( RFID ( Kinect (search this forum, or Synapse might suit for a ready made solution)
    • May 26 2012 | 5:27 am
      Hi Adam, Thank you so much, and that's great that you are working with children with disability. It's really interesting (I have a daughter with high functioning autism and know kids learn differently)
      In my specific case, I'm looking for something that students don't have to touch anything, but just "play into" it as much as possible. It's my personal taste in performance... :)
      Again thank you so much for your input!! best mari
    • May 26 2012 | 5:31 am
      @Luke I am using a sophisticated motion sensor for violins developed at IRCAM (Augmented Violin) and the festival organizer I'm going to be working for, is ready to rent (or buy) several units. It is not a controller, (which I don't need or want) but the system analyzes what humans do, and extract musical expression from it. It seems it is now my job to make it user-friendly... no one seems to be interested in doing that part of the job, to make it more accessible :)