Creative Coding For Musicians: Cell phone synth

Membership plan: Getting Started | Topics: Creative Coding

Course overview

In this course, we 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.

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.

Course content

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Simon & Course
  • Lesson 2: Introducing P5.js
  • Lesson 3: Working with User Input
  • Lesson 4: Lets make some noise!
  • Lesson 5: Cell Phone Synth


  • A computer and internet connection
  • A smart phone

Course schedule

Meet your instructor

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.

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