An iPad app for kids 8 and up to teach and encourage music composition, TuneTrain was created in spring 2013 as a semester-long project at the Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center.
To learn about the project itself, please visit:
My particular role on the project was as the Producer. I managed the project’s schedules and deadlines as well as the product’s vision of allowing “everyone to create music”.
I helped to coordinate various playtests with children and worked with the team to mirror the abstractness of music composition with something tangibly rewarding like word-building. We had to reconcile the idea of restricting note choices (to keep melodies harmonious) with the idea of a free-to-create world.
Originally, we looked at having walls with tunnels representing individual notes. Yet, the visual reverse that we settled on – open space with “goals” representing notes – is functionally the same while being emotionally more inviting.
On a day-to-day basis, I helped the team stay on task through a Scrum-inspired system as well as close collaboration.
The GoogleDoc task spreadsheet that we used helped individuals track all their tasks by deadline, priority, estimated hours, and actual hours worked.
Estimated hours and logged hours helped us track progress across 2-week sprints (hmm…. looks like on this particular Monday the team became over-tasked):
This is my corner of the project room; team contact information in the top left; a reminder of our product vision in the top right; physical calendar along the left; planned weekly schedule along the right:
- Albert Gea – Producer
- Meng Xie – Artist / Associate Producer
- Nathan Levin – Designer
- Michael Lee – Lead Programmer
- Romain Deciron – Programmer
- Cheng Yang – Programmer
- Pei-Lin Lu – Programmer
This project was produced at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University and advised by Jiyoung Lee and Carl Rosendahl.