San Diego Mini-Trip

On Tuesday, the My Music Mosaic team (Minus Amanda) flew out to San Diego to meet with the All Greater Good Foundation and the San Diego Center for Children. These two organizations were responsible for recruiting us onto the project in the first place, and the San Diego Center for Children is currently using the program in one of its classes.

Tuesday night mostly consisted of flying out and checking in to a hotel. We stayed in La Jolla, which is an absolutely beautiful city. Everywhere we went in La Jolla smelled like flowers.

All the flowers probably helped the flowery smell.

Wednesday morning, we drove over to the All Greater Good Foundation, and then the San Diego Center for Children. This is where we would meet the kids and see our program in action.

We first took a quick pit stop to the Sundiata Kata Music Center. Sundiata was the music director at the Center for Children. While we were there, we got a quick drum lesson. He taught us to drum with the syllables of the words we were saying. He kept saying “If you can say it, you can play it!”

We still needed some practice before we were ready to put “professional drummer” on our resumes, but I’m sure we could have nailed it with a few more lessons with Sundiata.

This was the part of the day where I couldn’t stop smiling. Seeing our program in action by the very kids we designed it for was indescribable.

We also got a lot of feedback from the kids about the program

It started with a Q&A, where we introduced the team and what each of us did on the project. From there, we asked to hear from the students. What felt great for us as designers is that the kids wanted features in the program that we had discussed before, but were unsure of whether or not they would actually want. It gave us a great starting point for our modifications for this semester as we continue to improve My Music Mosaic.

Here we are during the question session. From left to right: Dr. Ryan Meuth, Molly Satterfield, Joshua Vargas, Jaylyn Dawson, and Vesna Dragojlov from UAT, and Jacinta Behne and Dan Behne from the All Greater Good Foundation.

After the Q&A, we got to spend a little bit of time talking to the students about their artwork and songs. I spent a lot of my time with the student below.

He shared all of his pictures with me, plus a song that he created from scratch. It was a beautiful song, and I was surprised to learn that none of the students had any formal keyboard training.

Each of the students had their own approach to My Music Mosaic. Some focused on the artwork, using the keyboard and the songs as their input device. Some of them focused on jamming on the keyboard, with the artwork a secondary consideration.

The best part was that each student created a different piece of artwork from their peers. It really was unique every time.

Even still, some kids created artwork using My Music Mosaic, then went into Paint and added their own things to their pictures.

When we designed the program, I don’t think it occurred to us that the students would modify their final pictures.

Overall, it was a quick trip, but it was definitely worth it. This was the first time I got to see something I helped make an impact. Not only did I make something to help kids express themselves, but they LOVED using it! Jaylyn, Josh, and I couldn’t stop talking about what a great experience it was, and how fortunate we felt to be able to meet them.

Here’s the class afterwards. The kids were fabulous, and I already miss being in that classroom with them.

Edit: Jaylyn also pointed out, our project is actually featured on the All Greater Good Founation‘s website!