Programming music with Sonic Pi promotes positive attitudes for beginners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Programming is often misaligned with beginner students' interests and viewed as difficult. However, most students and teachers are not aware that it is possible to utilise domain-specific programming languages that combine programming with other domains like music making. Sonic Pi is one free domain-specific programming platform that enables beginners to code music, which has been designed for and used in schools since its first release in 2012. However, there is a lack of academic research on the Sonic Pi platform about the extent it may affect beginner student attitudes towards programming in a school context. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent Sonic Pi may help to promote positive attitudes towards programming. A mixed-methods case study was developed and trialled in school time with a middle school class, which measured student attitudes with the three subscales of enjoyment, importance, and anxiety. Overall, the results confirmed an alternative hypothesis that all students’ subscales for programming attitude increased significantly. While these findings are not generalisable due to its limited scope, they are very positive to inform the design and use of platforms like Sonic Pi in comparison to similar music coding platforms like EarSketch and TunePad.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104409
JournalComputers and Education
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Applications in subject areas
  • Improving classroom teaching
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • 516 Educational sciences

Cite this