On Saturday, June 13th we hosted our first annual Music Hack!  Our very gracious co-host, Braintree, allowed us to invade their beautiful office at the Merchandise Mart for a day of innovation, music and fun.  Our faculty and students performed throughout the day, and participated alongside developers, designers and makers on teams.

Our high school chamber group kicking off the morning

Developers, designers, and musicians began with a brainstorming session – our students and faculty were able to share some of the not-so-fun and antiquated ways music is being taught.  Making practicing more efficient, learning how to improvise, and game-ifying music learning were major themes.

TPMS student, Jonathon jumped right in – offering his ideas with each team.

Coding and performing throughout the day.  One of our faculty duos energized the crowd with their “flamenco metal”.

Our parents, students and faculty interacting with teams.

Team Chordinate, including two TPMS alumni!

The only all-girl team of coders happened to include two TPMS alumni – Adriana Castanada, a computer science major at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Saundra Castanda, web developer.   An amazing surprise – the skills acquired through music education was seen in real-time that day!

Teams were competing for prizes and praise from our esteemed judges: Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins drummer, now LiveOne CEO), Adrian Holovaty (Django co-creator, Soundslice founder), Jennifer Kim Matsuzawa (President & Artistic Director, The People’s Music School), Alex Zoghlin (Global Head of Technology, Hyatt), and Matthew O’Keefe (CTO, Hyatt).

(From L-R: Adrian Holovaty, Matthew O’Keefe, Jimmy Chamberlin, Jennifer Kim Matsuzawa)

The day ended with team pitches!  With 10 teams and 40 participants – they had 5 minutes to “pitch” their ideas to our panel of judges.

Congratulations to all of the amazing individuals who contributed to our cause this day.  This was an exciting and impactful new way to approach the challenges in our work.  The competition was intense, as all of the teams had created thoughtful and inventive “hacks”.

And the winners that day…

Best pitch goes to Team Mingual and their gamified practice platform!

Best concept design goes to Team ResolveIt! and their creative music theory app!

Most impactful solution goes to Team FORTissimo’s Lego/Arduino-based music learning and composing system!

Our music hack was a huge success – we’re already looking forward to next year!   A big thank-you to our major sponsors: Braintree, Vista Equity Partners, PwC!  Another round of thanks to all those who made our day special: Apple, Chicago Cubs, Metro Chicago, Reverb, Half Acre Beer Company, SkinnyPop.  And finally, thank you MonkeyBars.io for helping The People’s Music School throw this event together!

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