Get started with Chrome Music Lab

London CLC’s Peter Lillington shares some ways to use this free creative tool in class.

We really rate the Chrome Music Lab website as a great way for children to get creative with music and explore its connections to science, maths, art, dance and more. It’s free, you don’t need to set up an account and it works across all devices. 

We’ve been using some of the many Chrome Music lab Tools in our Music and technology workshops with children. They are amusing and engaging and everyone can succeed in exploring the different aspects of music such as pitch, rhythm, tempo and so on. Pupils can compose or improvise. They can experiment with changing parameters while their music is playing.They can even be  a co-performer with the device or with other pupils nearby. 

Of course, tools that allow this are not new (the excellent 2Simple activities from the original 2Simple music toolkit are now in Purple Mash, Busy Things has a number of fun activities and there are various other successful and very popular apps such as Garage Band) but we like that fact that the Chrome music lab tools are really accessible and cross platform.

One of the apps which is great fun to use is named after the artist Kandinsky and you can use your finger or a mouse to create strokes on screen with a choice of colour combinations. As soon as they appear they are gently animated. Make a circle or loop and you’ll get some animated facial details appear.

What we usually serve up first is Rhythm, which allows children to choose between four different ensembles of monsters playing simplified representations of actual instruments. You can simply explore sounds but at the bottom of the screen is a graphical score where the three instrument choices are shown by coloured icons. A rhythmic pattern can be created very quickly by design or by chance and it’s possible for the visual element to lead and rhythm to emerge or vice versa. 

While some pupils go through the stage of everything on for every beat, some are more thoughtful in what they do and one pupil recently created the same pattern in each of the four sections/options, deliberately playing them back sequentially.

We also use the Melody Maker activity in our sessions which combines some of the features from other activities. This one has the added benefit of being able to save work and export it in more than one format, so it can potentially be incorporated elsewhere.

There are 13 activities in total at the moment and there are some interesting notes (pardon the expression) on the Experiments page.

We’ll be highlighting a few of the other experiments we’ve tried in the following weeks in our weekly newsletter and, if you already use it, we’d love to hear what’s worked for you.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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