Creative Coding For Musicians: Cell phone synth / 17th July

Understand Javascript fundamentals by transforming your phone into an expressive musical instrument using the p5.js library.

Course Instructor: Dr Simon Katan

Course level

Music Hackspace

Starts on: 17/07/2022 16:00 BST

This workshop is live and recorded, it will be made available on-demand a few days after its live date. 

Date & Time of workshop: Sunday 17th of July 4pm UK, 5pm Berlin, 8am LA, 11am NYC

In this workshop we will take inspiration from greats in the field of NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) such as Max Matthews and Laetitia Sonami to transform your mobile phones into expressive musical instruments. To build the project, we’ll be using p5.js, the popular Creative Coding library. And through this work you will learn a range of fundamental coding techniques to start you on your creative coding journey.

What you'll learn

  • Create interactive graphics using a range of techniques specific to the p5.js environment (setup & draw functions, drawing commands, accessing gestural data through variables)
  • Interpret user input through a range of fundamental coding techniques (commands, variables, user events, arithmetic operators)
  • Build a simple synthesizer from code using the p5.sound addon. Understand how to use frequency and amplitude parametrically.
  • Bring all these techniques together to create an awesome expressive instrument.


  • A computer and internet connection
  • A web cam, mic and speakers (inbuilt is fine)
  • A Zoom account
  • A smart phone

Course content

  • ---- Zoom links to be added closer to the time of the workshop

Who is this course for

  • Can be for complete beginners with code who have some musical background
  • Can be for coders with some experience who want to learn about sound.

Useful links

About the workshop leader

Dr Simon Katan is a creative coder with a background in music and a strong preoccupation with games and play. His expertise covers audio-visual performance, interactive installation, and full stack web development. He has been commissioned by Roundhouse (Camden), Borealis Festival (Norway), Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik (Graz). Projects have included interactive theatre pieces for mobile devices, audio adventure games, and interactive dance works. He completed a PhD in audio-visual composition at Brunel University in 2012 and won a Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention for his work ‘Cube with Magic Ribbons'. Simon lectures in Creative Coding at Goldsmiths University and is also founder of Handl Education Ltd which applies game design and technology to the problem of online social learning in Higher Education.