Georgia Tech’s EarSketch, a project that teaches high school students how to write computer code to create musical remixes, is adding a true musical guru to its team. EarSketch is partnering with Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton, who will work with faculty to create new audio content for the program. Keaton has engineered 10 albums for hip-hop superstar Jay-Z.
The announcement was made in Atlanta at the eighth annual A3C Festival, the largest hip-hop festival in the Southeast.
“Young Guru brings a new level of creativity and professional musical expertise to EarSketch,” said Brian Magerko, an assistant professor in the Ivan Allen College School of Literature, Media and Communication. “Atlanta high school students will have a chance to learn about computer science with help from one of the biggest producers in hip-hop.”
“I knew early in my career that giving back and teaching young people were my passions,” said Keaton. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for professionals taking me under their wing and teaching me the craft. EarSketch is the program that will spark the next great computer or music mind. I’m sure of it. This is why I wanted to be involved.”
EarSketch is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative that was created to encourage high school students to consider computer science careers. The program, now in its second year, is focused on minorities and girls, but with an approach that is intended to have broad appeal. EarSketch utilizes the Python programming language and Cockos’ Reaper, a digital audio workstation program similar to those used in recording studios throughout the music industry.
EarSketch was developed and is overseen by Magerko and Jason Freeman, an associate professor in the College of Architecture’s School of Music.
“Young people don’t always realize that computer science and programming can be fun,” said Freeman. “Students are using EarSketch to remix samples and loops to express their own creative musical ideas as they learn computer science principles.”
EarSketch had its first test run by Atlanta-area high schoolers during a Georgia Tech summer camp in July. The software and curriculum will be piloted this spring at Lanier High School in Gwinnett County as part of Lanier’s music technology program.