But it was an educational event as well as a celebration. So how was I educated? What did I learn?
Specifically, what did I learn while letting hundreds of children, young and old, bash at the keys of my synths with widely varying degrees of musical profiency?
I learned that children LOVE to watch the waveforms they are making while they make sounds. That initial moment of direct connection - wow, THAT is the sound I'm making - followed by the application of really directed thought and exploration. What do the high ones sound like? What about the low ones. What about all of them at once? And what about the drums??? And there's something important here, about an experience being reinforced when it enters over multiple sensory paths. They just GOT IT, and loved it, and then wouldn't stop playing it.
Just like 2 years ago at the Bristol Jam, I didn't quite have some stuff ready for showtime and had a couple of niggling issues with the presentation kit - projectors not switching (my fault!), no audio out of the desk (no idea if it was my fault or not!) and had to use my Minirig, etc. So once the dust has settled and I've got my breath back I'll do what I did last time, run through the presentation with a camera running, and stick that up here for you all to laugh at / learn from / dismiss entirely, depending on your viewpoint. But I'll stick it up there, it may be useful for somebody. Commitments I will make right now for this upcoming presentation video -
1) there will be a PICYCLE
2) I will use the ace Pi DAC Hat from the wonderful team at IQaudIO
Thank you time.
Thank you to everyone who came and played, or bashed, or noodled, or just talked and asked good questions about how it worked and when it will be available. It was great to get such positive feedback from the public, and in particular the Raspberry Pi public, who are smarter than everyone else. And thanks to all the organizers, the marshals, the Pi Foundation, all the speakers, everyone who volunteered their time to make this work out. And I have to call out Jon Crowcroft, who was tireless and who provided the big TV for us to demo on after I rather ridiculously left a power supply on the floor in Bath ... thanks Jon. Great gig anecdotes as well!
GIANT thanks go to Novation UK, who loaned me a Launchkey 25 for the day - it is a truly fab keyboard, and the delight on the kids' faces when they realized that not only was it a cute little piano, and those knobs made the sound go all funny, but all those pads made giant drum noises!! So thanks Novation, the loan was very much appreciated. And it got raised eyebrows from the players who came by - 'this is a NICE keyboard' was uttered many times as people flourished their party pieces.
Thanks to Pete from Mythic Beasts who is obviously one of those guys with ludicrous levels of innate musical ability, who is magnetically attracted to anything with a keyboard attached. He came, he saw, he indicated politely that he could sort of play, then he totally rocked for hours. Awesome, and there's a bit of video of his jazztastic fingers here -
and here is Glenn Tommey, my rocktastic neighbour and the gigging ivory-tickler for Stackridge, The Korgis and the Bath Blue Meanies, who provided the piano skills for the demo video I inserted mid-presentation - Glenn is brilliant, and Stackridge are on their farewell tour - GO SEE THEM!!!
And the biggest thanks of the lot to my lovely and patient wife, who I dragged across the country ON OUR ANNIVERSARY but who was game enough, committed enough to the STEM cause - she's an Ambassador too - and tireless enough to work the booth / demo table all day, including the single-handed 40 minutes when I was off presenting. She's so great it's ridiculous.
As always, neither of us saw any of the event beyond the confines of the PIANA / PIANATRON demo table! Oh well.