Introduction to instrument design based on Arduino microcontroller

Craft your own digital instrument

Discover the art of crafting electronic instruments using Arduino with expert guidance from Kacper Ziemianin, blending technology, sound, and creativity

Only 30 places available

Starting Autumn 2024

Course overview

This course is taught over 6 weeks through a total of 12 live online sessions in partnership with Music Hackspace. It offers a step-by-step introduction to musical instrument building using Arduino. We'll start by exploring sensors, differentiating between analog and digital signals, and understanding essential electronic components. As we delve deeper, we'll touch upon audio topics like synthesis, sampling and filtering.

Participants will then learn to program their Arduino to control small motors, robotic parts, speakers and LEDs, and put them together to design a musical instrument. Towards the end, everyone will have a chance to design and showcase their own instrument, applying all they've learned.

Join us to learn the basics of Arduino, explore sound creation, and craft your own electronic instrument in a simple and engaging way.

NB: This course requires you to purchase some additional materials in order to make your instrument. They are all available at very low cost and we will provide you with links to purchase each component from China.

The course will consist of:
● 12 x 2hr live online classes
● All classes recorded for student use (during the course only)
● Interactive group challenges
● Music Hackspace Graduate Certificate of Excellence
● 50% discount on your first year subscription to Music Hackspace

Who is this course for?

  • This course is for anyone who wants to explore their creativity further with instrument design
  • For musicians looking to create their own instruments
  • For artists looking to integrate sound and electronics into an installation or project
  • For tinkerers wanting to start learning electronics

Course content

  • Introduction to programming with Arduino
  • ‘Hello World’: How to control a LED
  • Examples of Arduino-based projects
  • Introduction to various sensors compatible with Arduino
  • Understanding the difference between analog and digital inputs
  • How Arduino processes each type of signal
  • Exploring basic components: breadboards, resistors, capacitors, diodes, etc.
  • How and when to use them
  • Soldering exercise!
  • Connect your Arduino to a switch and an LED, and program it so that the light turns on/off based on the input
  • Basics of sound synthesis
  • Different sound-synthesis models: FM, AM, sample-based
  • Understanding how to play samples with Arduino
  • Basics of filtering
  • Different filter types
  • Gathering data from sensors
  • Remapping / rescaling the data for use in sound processing
  • Interactive Challenge: Build your first basic instrument that takes sensor data to modify the sound (using filters, samples, or synthesis techniques)
  • Exploring different output modules compatible with Arduino: speakers, LEDs.
  • Understanding how to drive these modules using Arduino
  • Delving into actuators and their role in instrument design
  • Learning how to integrate and control them with Arduino
  • Basics of designing a cohesive and functional instrument
  • Integrating input sensors, processing units, and output modules into a single design.
  • Interactive Challenge: Design and showcase an instrument using the skills and components from the entire course. The instrument should be able to capture inputs, process them, and provide meaningful outputs.


Course schedule

Meet your instructor

Kacper Ziemianin a.k.a. ‘Ctrl Freq’ has background in classical music and a lot of adventures in modern sound and music. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sonic Arts from Middlsex University, London and Master’s degree in Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands. Instrument maker, sound designer, circuit bender, vagabond, improviser, producer, audio-hacker, nomad, radio presenter, activist, workshop leader, squatter. His audio installations and sounds have been shown/played in numerous places around, as well as outside Europe. Currently based in the Hague, NL working as a freelance instrument designer and performer as well as teacher of DIY electronics. His latest endeavor, the ‘LightSeq’ has received funding from Stimuleringsfonds NL and won an award at an international electronic music festival ‘Radical dB’ in Zaragoza, Spain.


About Music Hackspace

Music Hackspace is an online education platform teaching music and creative technologies. Started in 2011, Music Hackspace's course portfolio includes over 800 hours of on-demand lessons teaching state of the art techniques to beginners and experienced artists. Music Hackspace has created courses, workshops and meetups in collaboration with leading companies such as Ableton, Arturia, Roland, Android or TouchDesigner, and co-founded the MIDI Innovation Awards with NAMM and The MIDI Association.

About Creat-Ed

Creat-Ed is a creative education consultancy for institutions, businesses and brands. Together we have over 90 years experience, at a senior management level, in Further and Higher Education and the Creative Industries across international markets including China, South East Asia, Europe and the UK. Clients and previous work include Tileyard Education, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Nottingham Trent University, Confetti Institute of Creative Technology, BIMM Group, SAE College, SSR / Spirit Studios, Krems University Danube, Kennesaw State University, Gigrealm, New Media Law.


Useful links

Buy Arduino on the Pi Hut

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