Note blasters’ music & tech journey just taking off 🎶

Who We Are

We are a group of highly motivated high schoolers who formed this team because of our shared interests and experiences in music and coding. Music was definitely a major part of our education, and we’ve found that it permeates everyday life. Our team decided to create Noteblast after observing the complete lack of music apps for conga. Having an app that combines the elements of a game and the playing of this instrument is especially effective. Learning difficult material can be more enjoyable when trying to get a high score in a game, rather than on a test.

The Problem

To begin, we must address the problems at hand: academic invisibility, educational access, and learning difficulty. Not many people know what conga or neural networks are; neural networks are also not commonly used for conga audio analysis, so documentation is limited and there are no existing models for comparison. Secondly, conga players, our target group, have no access to a conga app to help them learn their instrument. To make matters worse, there is a lack of teachers for new conga students. Music training can also be hard or boring without teachers, so our app supports conga students with a fun and interesting game while helping them improve and practice.

Our Solution

Our app gives musicians a chance to learn about a relatively unknown instrument without needing professional guidance. Students or musicians that do not have access to teachers for whatever reason can have a free guidance tool that is both fun and educational. Due to the conga’s obscurity and lack of related data, we sought out a professional conga player to record specific notes, conga playerDr. Chong. With that data we were able to create a neural network that will become increasingly accurate with more data. The game element of this app is meant to give users a more enjoyable learning experience. Noteblast is a multitool that anyone can use to improve their conga playing in an entertaining manner.

Challenges

Our team encountered several issues during the process of creating Noteblast. When scheduling our meeting times, we ran into some minor inconveniences with team attendance. However, we managed to find a time (Thursdays 7–9 PM) that enabled all of us to join and collaborate. The timing was a significant hurdle to jump, but our main issues concerned the compatibility between MacOS and Windows operating systems. We solved this by working out the differences between the two and changing file paths to follow Mac OS syntax. Another difficulty we had was that our topic, conga audio analysis using AI, is relatively underrepresented in the research literature. We found little work discussing the tones of the conga, let alone classifying the sound with AI. Lastly, the python libraries we used may have been well documented, but they were still quite difficult to implement. We eventually triumphed over these challenges through perseverance and relentless determination and, of course, the help of our team’s advisors.

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Applied Computing Foundation

Applied Computing Foundation

Develop mastery in technical and collaborative skills; Empower young leaders to drive change in communities