The 2nd Design Seminar Next : Lecture+Workshop "STEAM Education: Teaching Programming through Music"

At the 2nd Design Seminar NEXT, we invited Mr Enrico Bertelli and Ms Yui Shikakura from the “Conductive Music” project to give a lecture and workshop “STEAM Education: Teaching Programming through Music”. They are based in England and holds workshops for economically disadvantaged students and students with learning disabilities. The workshop lasted five hours, and we had 11 people from both the university and the general public. Assistant Professor Yuichiro Nagatsu of the Kyushu University Faculty of Design will tell you more about this event.

Conductive Music is a company that fuses music and technology, with a motto of “Education through creation and destruction.” Programming education has received a lot of attention lately, and they propose methods of STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) with an approach using music and art. Conductive Music lectures are always online, and uses semi-permanent tools that can be used from anywhere.

This lecture used tools available through Google Chrome, and demonstrated coding using “micro:bit,” a micro computer that can fit in the palm of your hand. Enrico explained how to use the micro:bit, and demonstrated how it can display characters and icons on an LED screen, and also played music through speakers connected to the micro:bit. Also, using sensors powered with the micro:bit, showed how it can respond to motion, temperature, and electrodes to produce movements. The participants were amazed at how easily the micro:bit can be used for a variety of purposes.

Next, using the micro:bit, the participants used coding to create instruments. They were able to combine the micro:bit with everyday items like cardboard boxes and aluminum foil.

During the final presentation, they demonstrated many kinds of instruments, such as ones that change sound with movement, make noise when shaken, and make noise when thrown.

Comments from Enrico and Shikakura:

This presentation was not looking for precision, merely the beginning of “Education through creation and destruction.” Many tools exist other than micro:bit, and have many applications outside music. What’s important is to think, to improve, and share ideas with others.

Commencing in 2019, the Faculty of Design, Kyushu University launches Design Seminar Next and engages in practical activities in the aim of exploring new possibilities in design that go beyond basic theory. In a two-pillared structure together with Design Fundamental Seminar, which aims to systematize design, the Faculty wishes to work on setting up new educational methods.


Enrico Bertelli (Conductive Music CIC)
A percussionist who also participates in arts-related educational research. Holds a doctorate from the University of York, having studied modern performance, percussion, and electronics.

Yui Shikakura (Conductive Music CIC)
Participates in educational research regarding Japanese traditional music education. Holds a doctorate from Tokyo University of the Arts with a major in music education.


Conductive Music CIC
Established in 2012. Provides stimulating experiences for students facing difficulties, such as poverty and learning disabilities, with a focus on blending music, technology, and science through STEAM. Based in England, the project has expanded to include Greece, France, Spain, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

Yuichiro Nagatsu(Assistant Professor, Faculty of Design

Kyushu University Faculty of Design

Enrico Bertelli
Yui Shikakura


  • Yuichiro Nagatsu Faculty of Design, Kyushu University


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