Sam Aaron

Samuel Aaron is a researcher, software architect and computational thinker with a deep fascination surrounding the notion of programming as a form of communication. His research focuses on the design of novel domain specific languages to explore liveness, conceptual efficiency and performance within programming languages.

Samuel works as a Research Associate at University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, where he has created Sonic Pi, a powerful live coding environment for realtime sound synthesis targetted for education. Sonic Pi has been used successfully to teach programming and music within schools but also to live code music for people to dance to in nightclubs.

NewCrafts 2018

Live Coding the intersection between the arts, research and education

  • Talk
  • Languages
  • Practices
  • Agile

Code is one of the most powerful, creative and transformative media available. However the potential of code is still largely incomprehensible and out of reach for most of our society. How and why should we address this as a problem? In order to help us unpick and explore these simple yet deep questions we will follow the story of Sonic Pi - a live coding music synth designed for the arts, research and education.

Sonic Pi was originally created as a response to the challenge of finding new ways to teach code in schools. It has since evolved into an extremely powerful and performance-ready live coding instrument suitable for professional artists and DJs. It is also a rich research platform for exploring questions related to liveness, time and concurrency in programming languages. Yet, despite this rapid evolution it has maintained its core mission - to be simple enough for 10 year olds.

Through Sonic Pi as a lens we will be forced to confront some interesting and challenging questions: - How is code creative? How can we communicate through code? Can programming languages be expressive interfaces? Can notation become an instrument? To what extent is performance a form of education and education a kind of performance?

You'll also leave with a simple, joyful and powerful new musical instrument to start playing with.

Room: Kay - Time: 5/17/2018 3:45:00 PM

Live Coding with Sonic Pi

  • Pre-conference workshop
  • Languages
  • Practices
  • Agile

Sonic Pi is a powerful new kind of synthesiser designed to be simple enough for anybody to use. By expressing your ideas in simple lines of code you can quickly create your own sonic compositions and before you know it you're modifying the code as it's playing to create your own live performances.

In this kickstarter workshop, we learn, jam, explore, share and perform with each other all through the beautiful creative medium of code. Use Sonic Pi to trigger synth patches, samples, studio FX and live loops.

No prior knowledge of coding is required - just an open mind to new ways of creating and manipulating sounds.

Please bring along a laptop and some headphones with Sonic Pi pre-installed. Simply head to and download the appropriate version for your operating system (Mac, Windows or Linux).


Code of conduct

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organisers.