Intro to Synthesis


Interested in music? Electronics? Both? Synthesis is a great way to explore both and spend a great deal of money in the process – or not! Here is my journey so far.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Ableton Live
Live Lite for Beginners
Loopop Introduction
Mr. Bill Tutorials
Ski Oakenfull Tutorials
Beat Academy Tutorial
InsprAspr Ableton For Beginners

Other DAWs / Samples
Native Instruments Komplete Start
Bitwig Studio


Alesis Microbrute
More Patches
Arturia Forum
Feature breakdown from Automatic Gainsay + Microbrute with Minibrute
Liquid Limbs patch examples (set of 5 videos)
lopop Tips & Tricks videos

Behringer Neutron
Loopop Overview
Robert Iver videos

Behringer Model D (MiniMoog clone)

MIDI Controllers
Alesis Vortex

Hardware Effects

Zoom MS-70CDR
Strymon Deco
Empress Zoia
Korg NTS-1
MODEP + Pi Sound

Softsynths / VSTs

KVRAudioForum – free VSTs
Splice – free plugins
Bedroom Producers Blog
Computer Music Magazine subscription
Spitfire Audio Labs

Paid VSTs
u-he Diva, Tyrell n6
Organs: GSI VB3-II or GG Audio Blue3
Arturia Pigments, V Collection

Free VSTs
Synthmaster – ADSR has masterclass
Tal Noise Maker, Y No (free!)
Sanford Reverb
Synapse The Legend
VCV Rack

Paid Effect Plugins
klevgr Reamp / DAW Cassette
Vulf Compressor

Misc Plugins
Snapshot 2 – save analogue presets

Samples From Mars


Sonic State
Once Upon a Synth
Red Means Recording

Books and Articles
Sound on Sound Synth Secretspdf or github
Learning Music With Synthesizers
Allen Strange Electronic Music
Making Music – DeSantis
Fred Welh’s Synthesizer Cookbook Tutorial
How To Make A Noise

Drum Programming – Badness
Pocket Operations Drum Patterns

Intro to Synthesis Video
Secrets of Analog and Digital Synthesis Video
Ableton Learning Music/ Learning Synths
Logic Noise
Gizmodo Beginner’s Guide
GearSlutz – Electronic Music, iOS/Android, DIY, Modular
Moog Foundation – Synthesis Fundamentals Posters
Foundation of Synthesis videos + History of Polyphony
Attack Magazine
Reverb Machine
FACT Magazine



Music Theory

Video: Circle of Fifths
Video: Music Theory Distilled
Video: Learn Music Theory in Half an Hour
Music Theory Posters
Ableton Template

MACUL 2019: Student Created Smart Assistants Using Raspberry Pis and Python

Education, Technology

Thanks for checking out information related to my 2019 MACUL Conference workshop.

If you’re just here for the giveaway, leave your name, school, and grade taught (for my curiosity) at the bottom of this post to enter.

Presentation Slides
Resource Sheet

Student Resources

Google Earth, Expeditions and More in Social Studies

Education, Technology

I recently attended a excellent workshop from Alyssa Marcangelo on integrating Google Expeditions and Google Earth within the classroom. These were tools I was familiar with but thought that they never really found their place within K-12 education, as many of Google Earth’s features are now baked into Google Maps, and low-resolution, static pictures were just not that compelling within Google Expeditions. Yet I took this opportunity to take the time to really consider curricular connections where they might fit in. In a first attempt to provide a context to homeroom teachers for using these tools, I turned to a Fourth Grade Social Studies unit that has students using the Design Thinking process to tackle U.S. regional issues. I thought it might be a good fit to give students a birds-eye view of some of these problems during the Empathize/Understand phase.

MIT Solve Workshop

Design, Education, STEM

Tech Town hosted a workshop from MIT’s Solve team yesterday evening. I attended only due to a chance meeting with Paul Riser, Jr. when I was accompanying teachers looking at Tech Town as a potential field trip site. It turned out to be a snowy evening to trundle downtown, but I’m glad I went as I think Solve presents an interesting approach to tackling social issues.

From Making to Computing: A Year of Growth

Essays, MSU MAET

Before beginning the Masters of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University (MSU), I had a sense of what my interests in informal education were, but little idea on how to move forward. I had spent over five years as a museum outreach educator, but felt my mental wheels spinning a bit as I tried to break out of familiar ways of thinking. After spending just over a year working on my masters degree, the path has become clearer, not just due to guidance from my instructors, but by taking inspiration from the amazing work that my fellow classmates have exposed me to. My attitudes towards the use of technology in the museum or classroom has also changed by taking a more grounded view in connecting the use of tools to pedagogy and content being taught. As I reflect on my experience, I find that the largest changes in how I work to provide compelling experiences to learners of all ages has taken place in three key areas: maker education, transdisciplinary learning, and computational thinking.

A Year in Advance

Essays, MSU MAET, Museums

Summer provides a natural opportunity to reflect and regroup for many educators. Within a museum, the time is often filled with camps, teacher workshops, and special public events, but time must still be set aside for planning. Over the next couple months, I will be transitioning to a new position at work as well as finishing my Master’s degree, so considering the future is particularly relevant at the moment. In order to continue to grow personally and professionally, my current learning goals include gaining experience in hobbyist programming, learning more about how non-profits are managed, and finding new ways to engage the public within a museum.

These goals are chosen based on the idea that I want to continue to do well in a museum environment, but may also wish to explore my own interests in another non-profit setting where much of my experience will transfer over. Of particular interest to me is how to engage a wide variety of ages in learning new technologies, including developing programming and computational thinking skills. I also want these goals to be achievable in the next year and have concrete end products that show evidence of growth.

Creative Computing Lesson Reflection

Coding, Computational Thinking, Creativity, MSU MAET, Technology

During a recent session of our Art and Science Teacher Workshops, I engaged in action research by implementing and reflecting on a lesson on the use of computers for creative means, namely creating visual art. The participants explored the work of Sol LeWitt, who created instruction based works intended to be carried out in a variety of contexts. Brain Pickings has provided an overview that shows how various artists have approached this idea. LeWitt’s instructions can be implemented using traditional technology, but in this lesson I chose to use two newer tools, Scratch and Processing, to introduce how computers can be tools of creative expression through programming and play.

Creative Computing Lesson

Coding, Computational Thinking, Education, MSU MAET

Grade level: K-12 Teachers



Common Core Math (for students – not standards for the workshop)

7.G.2 Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.

National Core Art Standards (for teachers/students)

CR.1.1.8 Generate ideas, goals, and solutions for original media artworks through application of focused creative processes, such as divergent thinking and experimenting.

CSTA Computer Science Standards (for teachers/students)

L1:6.CT.1 Understand and use the basic steps in algorithmic problem-solving (e.g., problem statement and exploration, examination of sample instances, design, implementation, and testing).

L1:6.CT.6 Understand connections between computer science and other fields.

Change is Constant

Essays, MSU MAET

Just over a year ago, I applied to Michigan State University (MSU) to begin the Masters of Arts in Education Technology (MAET) program. This process forced me to consider my goals not only for the degree but in my profession. I had spent the last three years coordinating an outreach program for northern Michigan schools that used an integrated approach to teaching art and science. I chose to attend MSU in large part because of its rich history in exploring transdisciplinary learning and its relationship to developing creativity skills in K-12 students, which closely matched what I was trying to achieve through our programs, so many of my goals related to further developing an understanding of these topics.