Nov 20, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
Amazon has announced a new addition to its Amazon Future Engineer program – a music remix competition that teaches students how to write code that makes music. Alongside Georgia Tech and their learn-to-code-through music platform, EarSketch, participating high school students have the opportunity to win prizes by composing an original remix featuring original music stems from Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Ciara and her song, “SET” from her latest album Beauty Marks. The competition is intended to uniquely activate young people to try computer science and coding. All high school students across the country are encouraged to enter the competition now through January 20th. Teaching guides are available for teachers to bring the competition to their classroom, or as part of their introductory computer science curriculum.
Students will use computer science and coding to build their remix using musical samples from Ciara’s song “SET,” as well as other sounds from the EarSketch library. Students will learn looping (repeating) to extend the length of their song, use strings to create new beats, create custom functions representing different song sections, and learn to upload their own sounds to the EarSketch library.
“We are excited to support the innovative and unique work Georgia Tech and EarSketch are pioneering to give students across the country more access to computer science, coding, and music,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “This competition will give thousands of students from underserved and underrepresented communities the opportunity to try something new and fun. It will build their confidence and, most importantly, encourage them to think creatively.”
Students and teachers can learn more about the competition details at www.amazonfutureengineer.com/earsketch - all high school students are encouraged to participate, either in class or on their own. The top three student winners will each receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington to be an “Amazon Future Engineer” for the day. Additional winners will receive a PreSonus Audiobox 96 Studio and Amazon.com Gift Cards. The competition opens today and will close on Monday, January 20 at 11:59PM EST.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small percentage from underserved backgrounds. In multiple research studies, students using the EarSketch platform significantly increased their positive attitudes towards computing and their intentions to persist in computing, with particularly significant impacts on students from groups historically underrepresented in the field. Female students expressed even greater gains in computing confidence, motivation, and identity as compared to their male counterparts.
“Music and coding are both highly prevalent today, but coding is less apparent—EarSketch provides an amazing way to experience these creative disciplines simultaneously,” said Dr. Roxanne Moore, Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech and project lead for the remix competition.
“We know that creativity is the key to success in both music and computer science,” said Professor Jason Freeman, Chair of the School of Music at Georgia Tech and co-creator of the EarSketch platform. “We’re thrilled to partner with Amazon to support more students as they unlock their creative potential through EarSketch.”
To date, more than 375,000 students in all 50 states and over 100 countries have used EarSketch. Programs like EarSketch serve Georgia Tech’s mission to meet the demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals by opening the eyes of more students to these engaging and important subjects.
Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.