"Over the past century, the UK has stopped nurturing its polymaths.
You need to bring art and science back together."

Eric Schmidt, MacTaggart Lecture 2012

A New Landscape

In 2012, the UK government sought to establish the teaching of programming as part of a full Computer Science (CS) curriculum. In this new "programming-friendly" climate in schools, the opportunity therefore exists to incorporate elements of Sound and Music Computing (SMC) into both CS and Music curricula, potentially for all age groups. There are also important overlaps with Physics and Mathematics. For teachers and students alike, this presents both challenges and opportunities.


Music classes have for some years incorporated substantial elements of ICT and computer music technology, much of which is mandated by exam boards.The addition of scripting or programming, along with a computational approach to digital audio, will greatly enhance creative and technical opportunities for students.


The principles of digital audio are mandated topics in both GCSE and A-Level CS curricula under the general title of "data representation". This provides a critical opportunity to include sound and music programming as a part of the CS curriculum.

If music is "audible mathematics", SMC is "audible computing". It enables an aural representation of primary programming idioms such as loops and iteration. Valuable in itself, it also offers an especially powerful means of engagement in CS for visually impaired students.

Aspects of SMC

principles of digital audio
digital sound synthesis
audio processing (e.g. effects) software and hardware design
music analysis analysis of music performance
algorithmic composition music composition languages
interface design network audio
Human Computer Interaction (HCI) sonification

Compare music and CS curricula: GCSE A-Level

At the time of writing, the situation with regard to both exam specifications and the schools curriculum in general is somewhat fluid. These documents will be revised accordingly.