Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lesson 45 - The Xylophone Star

Motivation was an issue again. "Daddy I don't want a computer lesson today". So I had to make a strategy. She has recently learned to play the piano a bit, so that she can play parts of simple children's songs like "Jänis istui maassa". So I challenged her to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Start on the xylophone. And she was hooked.

I prepared some functions in Turtle Roy, like this:

  let ti n=play n 500
  let taa n=play n 1000
  let taaa n=play n 2000

  let shh = play " " 500

Basically, there are "ti" and "taa" functions for playing a short or long note and "shh" for a pause. After playing a bit with the xylophone and the piano, I introduced this "instrument" to her and she was quickly able to play notes, like

  ti a

After just 2 notes she said "I want to make a sequence so that I can play multiple notes at once". I was so happy!

Then she started working on Twinkle Twinkle. She mastered the syntax for sequencing actions quit well and there we were, playing the xylophone and writing our program. And that was fun!

There was a lot of inline editing: she made a partial version of the song and played it, then went back (arrow up) to edit the song and add more notes and played it again. And again. And again. The end result was the "twinkle blah blah how I wonder what you are", but with a twist. We discussed whether it should go like the original version but she insisted on a different timing. You can see and hear it here.

A nice thing about the xylophone: it has the note names (C,D,E,...) written on the keys. So after playing a note, she can pick the key up and write the same letter on the computer.

Let's she if she'll make more songs with the same method.

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