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Sound and Music Technologies

The Sound and Music Technologies R&D group is a component of the Sound and Music Innovation Lab (SMIL) that researches and develops instruments, interfaces, apps, and technologies to support and advance musical engagement and learning. The Sound and Music Technologies group focuses on human-centered design solutions that contribute to sustainability and improve people’s lives. Students can earn credit for taking part in the Sound and Music Technologies group as part of the Arizona State University Vertically Integrated Projects initiative. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to apply your interests and expertise in music-focused projects for credit. See below for additional information: screen-shot-2017-08-24-at-10-58-31-am

Prototype of a Conductive Fabric MIDI controller – Nicolas Montano

Vertically Integrated Project (VIP)

The Sound and Music Technologies group is part of the VIP program at Arizona State University.

The Problem

The existing landscape of musical instruments, interfaces, apps, and technologies is largely based on tradition; new developments are often skeuomorphic. Traditional instruments can lead to injuries and often assume certain types of engagement. Few instruments or interfaces are adaptive to school, community, or societal ecologies and many can be wasteful of resources.

What is this project? (The Opportunites)

Sound and Music Technologies connects highly achieving students across Arizona State University to collaborate on solving problems and imagining new possibilities for designing and developing musical instruments, interfaces, apps, and technologies with direct social and environmental impact for society. The design and development of new musical instruments and interfaces provides a problem-space fertile with possibilities for improving society. We are also working on engaging with existing technologies and developing related curricula and pedagogies. The project team leverages partnerships with the Consortium for Innovation and Transformation in Music Education (CITME), Music and Media Arts Makerspace, faculty across campus, and local communities to apply cutting edge research and design principles in real-world contexts. See below for a current list of projects.

What can students do? (The Possibilities)

By rethinking materials used to create instruments, applying human-centered and bio-mimicry principles, and developing technologies related to sound, our team’s projects have potential to support people’s creative and artistic engagement while driving innovation in other areas such as mobile devices, sensor design, robotics, or how apps are programmed. Students will have opportunities to apply what they are learning in their major areas in relation to music in ways that can impact people’s lives. The Sound and Music Technologies group provides opportunities for students to collaborate with their peers across ASU and community members who they might not otherwise meet while engaging in music-focused projects that leverage and advance their expertise and interests. Students will have opportunities to work with microcontrollers, programming environments, musical instruments and interfaces, and varied materials.

Earning Credit for Applying Interests and Expertise to Music-Focused Projects

  • Students can enroll in VIP MUE Sound and Music Technologies each semester while at ASU.
  • Students who remain in the VIP cohort will have a strong foundation to build upon for the Senior Projects.
  • Sound and Music Technologies is also open to graduate students.


Evan Tobias, PhD, Music Education (Director: Kax Herberger Center for Children and the Arts / Director: Consortium for Innovation and Transformation in Music Education)

Collaborating Faculty

Dean Bacalzo, M.S.D. Industrial Design We are currently seeking students in the following areas (but all are invited to apply for the group):
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design and Information Architecture
  • Health Innovations
  • Media Arts
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Web Development and Graphic Design

Current Projects

These are just some of the projects you can work on as part of the Sound and Music Technologies Group
  • Developing resources for music programs addressing contemporary musicianship such as audio engineering, DJing, beatmaking, and producing
  • Exploring how people create music with technology
  • Developing interactive web-based music applications
  • Innovating online music learning
  • Engaging with local beat making and producing communities
  • Creating accessible and engaging musical instruments and interfaces