Music Education Hackathon

This past weekend, more than 170 hackers joined music educators from around the country for the first-ever Music Education Hackathon, hosted by Spotify and Innovate NYC Schoolsprogram, part of the NYC Department of Education. Teams at Music Ed Hack were challenged to create a product that would help solve a real challenge for music education — in just 24 hours. We took real issues from actual music teachers across the city, combined them with truly innovative API partners like The Echo Nest, Peachnote, and Spotify, and let the hack teams get to work. Hack teams had access to mentor hours from music educators and tech companies, to make sure that what they were developing would be on point.

After working through the night, hack teams developed ideas and prototypes that ranged from an iOS training tool for drummers to a Spotify application that taught geography alongside music appreciation to software that recognized incorrect notes on the clarinet. A panel of judges that included the Director of Music Education for NYC, the SVP of Digital for Universal Music, and the Director of the Dorm Room Fund for First Round Capital, awarded $20,000 in prizes. Drinks, food, and a performance from St. Lucia also awaited our tired, triumphant hack teams.

Music Ed Hack by the Numbers:

  • 219 total attendees
  • 174 hack participants
  • 14 teachers
  • 13 students

Here’s a recap of the winners:

NYU Winner: Nicholas Jaworski

Peachnote API WinnerParrot Lunaire
Sing or play and discover Peachnote music scores and a Spotify playlist that have similar melodies

Spotify API Winner: Jamalong
Jam along with Spotify. Choose a song and Jamalong delivers a series of keys for you to riff along with–and they’re already in the right key for the song you chose.

EchoNest API WinnerPoke a Text
Learn grammar through music. As a song plays, choose the right grammar associated with those lyrics.

Overall Third Place Winner ($1,000 AWS credits): Rosetta Tone
Learn cultural context and another language through music. Rosetta Tone layers a popular song in another language (i.e. “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias in Spanish) against your native language (i.e. English) and see the lyrics translated into your native language. Sing along!

Overall Second Place Winner ($3,000 AWS credits): Remixing Your Musical World with Makey Makey
Make chords on your own or reinforce chords learned in class– all through a Makey Makey Chord Board. Choose from vocal, guitar, marimba, and piano samples to create your own music or practice chords.

Overall First Place Winner ($10,000 cash + $6,000 AWS credits): Exemplify
Musical lesson planning using Soundcloud and EchoNest, Exemplify lets you choose any song and tag places in that song with questions around structure, tone, composition, key matching, and more.

A special thanks to everyone involved!