Pharrell Williams has started a new initiative to teach music coding to middle and high school students. Students in the U.S and Canada are eligible to enter.
Pharrell Williams teamed up with Amazon and Georgia Tech for an initiative, called Your Voice is Power, that teaches music coding to middle and high school students. The initiative offers a platform to 1,000,000 students who have big music ambitions.
YELLOW, the artist’s non-profit organization, announced that the initiative is meant for middle and high school students in the U.S. and Canada. The initiative provides computer science education to students from underserved communities and groups underrepresented in the technology sector.
“This collaboration between YELLOW, Amazon, and Georgia Tech is a celebration of Black creators and change-makers,” said Pharrell. “YELLOW at its core believes that education is a pathway to success. Teaching kids future-ready skills like coding, especially those kids for whom opportunities like this have not been equally distributed, is how we prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
This initiative contains five modules with lesson plans that teach the students how to code music. Additionally, it challenges students to remix Pharrell Williams’ “Entrepreneur” single to raise their voice on the importance of racial equality and social justice. The students use Georgia Tech’s EarSketch and Python to create the remix. Students use looping to extend the song duration, use strings to create beats, create custom functions representing different song segments, and upload their sounds to EarSketch. Remixes are judged by a panel of Amazon engineers, Amazon music team members, and music professionals based on the quality of code, music, and thoughtful messaging.
The first round of the Your Voice is Power competition started on January 19th and ends on March 12th. The second run runs from March 15th through June 4th.
“We’re honored to join Amazon Future Engineer, and together build further awareness and enlist more artists to join this program that will break down barriers for students from underrepresented communities,” said Ryan Redington, VP of Music Industry at Amazon Music. “The more we support the next generation of artists and creators, the better the future of music will be. We are proud to work alongside Pharrell, a respected, visionary voice in promoting racial justice and helping students achieve long-term success.”
“Across 13 research studies with over 1,000 participants, Georgia Tech has shown that students who learn to code through music using EarSketch have a higher intention to persist in studying and pursuing careers in computing, especially Black, Latinx, Native American students, and women,” said Jason Freeman, co-creator of EarSketch.
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