Introductory Art and Music Course

We have developed an art and music course "EDIS 2200 Art, Animations, and Music" that is offered in the School of Education at the University of Virginia. The course has also been approved by the Department of Computer Science as an elective in the Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science degree program, so we get an eclectic mix of participants - some of whom are novices in coding, art, and music, and others who have experience in one or more of these areas.

As an experiment, we thought it might be interesting to make the course activities and resources available in the Snap! forum each week. Let us know if there would be interest in exploring some of these activities.

Yes, please.

Here's a description of our goals for the semester:

Creating Digital Art, Animations, and Music provides an introduction to design and creativity through use of computers to create art and music. The first half of the course focuses on digital art and the second half of the course focuses on digital music. Digital animations are woven throughout the course.

Each of the art modules provides an introduction to a different artist – the sculptors Alexander Calder and Bathsheba Grossman, the nineteenth century post impressionist artist, Georges Seurat, the twentieth century artists Mark Rothco and Jason Pollock, and the contemporary illustrator, Peter Reynolds. Each of these artists works in a different style and in different mediums. These styles provide opportunities to emulate these artistic approaches through the medium of digital technologies.

Each of the music modules also features a different musician. The musicians featured include influential artists such as Robert Johnson, the blues guitarist and singer whose landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 influenced musicians and groups as diverse as Eric Clapton, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. The twelve-bar blues is a tradition that can be traced back to the nineteenth century. This form of the blues enables a musician to play hundreds of different songs with only three chords. In a similar manner, a few basic concepts enable creators to create hundreds of different types of programs with only a few foundational commands.


Week 1 Creating Art in the Style of Bathsheba Grossman

Week 2 Creating Art in the Style of Rothko

Week 3 Creating Art in the Style of Pollock

Week 4 Creating Art in the Style of Sereut

Week 5 – Creating Art in the Style of Calder

Week 6 Art Project

Week 7 Computer-Generated Sound and Music / Moog Synthesizer

Week 8 Musical Notes & Scales / Creating Music in the Style of Lieber and Stoller

Week 11 Musical Chords / Creating Music in the Style of Robert Johnson

Week 12 Tune Player / Creating Music in the Style of Hoagy Carmichael

Week 13 Building a Drum Machine / Creating a Drum Pattern in the Style of Ringo Star

Week 14 Music Project

Week 15 Acoustic Tools

Week 16 Designing an Instagram-style Filter

Week 17 Hypermedia Project

Which are those few concepts?

When will the week 1 start?

EDIS 2200: Week 1

Here is a link to the first module:

The first module introduces turtle graphics to novices who have not coded before. Bathsheba Grossman is representative of a generation of artists who use computers to extend the type of art that they create. The design below was created by Bathsheba Grossman (
using a computer-generated pattern.


The exploration for this week involves creation of a design that can be used as the basis for creation of a laser-etched acrylic ornament. We'll extend the offer of creating a laser-etched crystal (using a pattern created in Snap!) to anyone on the Snap! Forums who might like to try this as well as members of the class.

We also would welcome any comments or feedback regarding the materials (text documents and videos) in Module 1. Members of the Snap! forum have generously contributed to development of materials for the course, answering the many questions that we have posted over the past year, and we would be interested in any further comments or feedback that you might have.

Thank you.


It was a surprise to me to find out that when I am just watching the videos I feel the non-dark Snap*!* appearance is appearing somehow more inviting than dark one despite the fact that if I am coding my projects I always prefer the dark one to work in. Strange, isn't it?

How come you decided to present the coding in the 'flat' (i.e. 'non-dark')? I like it.

I find it easier to follow the lesson if the presenter keeps eye contact constantly (without looking away), so maybe you would want to have another person doing the coding, making it easier for the presenter to keep the eye contact in your future videos.

We have a colleague who is visually impaired. She is able to see the flat design, and therefore we are using that format.

This material is absolutely beautiful and inspiring, Glenn!

@kinestheticlearning Thanks so much for these suggestions. We have made the videos for the spring 2020 semester, but will try to incorporate your suggestions when we revise the videos this summer.

@jens We certainly appreciate the feedback and support that you and many others provided in response to the many questions that we asked as we developed these materials. ... After piloting the art & music course this spring, we plan to revise this summer in response to the suggestions that we receive.

Our entire team cannot thank you and Brian enough for developing the environment that makes these types of explorations possible.

This is not about the content/'material' as my previous comment was, but about the choice you made for the uploaded videos to be "for children".
Such videos can not be added to any user's personal playlist(s), not even to the "watch later" one.

Can you change it to not for children only, so that adding to playlists will be possible, you can still turn off the video comments, if that was your goal, for each individual video.

@kinestheticlearning A group of fifth-grade children is among the users who are currently piloting these materials. In order to ensure that inappropriate advertising is not displayed to these users, we checked the box that indicated that children are among the potential viewers.

If there's a way to ensure that inappropriate advertising content is not displayed to younger viewers, we would be happy to make adjustments that would enable greater flexibility in use of the videos.

Hi! THis may sound like a very silly question, but do you teach people how to draw anime?

I think they're talking about art that relates to computer science.

I see now why you had to make the choice you made.

I hope you don't mind me proposing ideas that I have not thought through very well.

What about changing the topic's title to "Introductory (Programmable) Art&Music Course", @glenbull to make it more transparent what it is really about?

Oh, and what about introducing the 'procedures-as-data' idea by making a "move 4 times 100 steps and after each do 'lambda'," where you could drag the "turn 90" block into the empty slot?

@zahra_kaito We haven't developed an anime module yet, but that's a good suggestion. We likely could build a unit around manga - perhaps developing a storyboarding technique to create manga panels. Some of the costumes in the Snap! library could potentially be adapted.

By way of this post, I would like to introduce Briana, a talented artist who is working with us. She'll follow up with some ideas in a subsequent post.