Every semester, students sign up to play with Bowdoin’s Afro-Latin Music Ensemble, a half-credit musical group that studies and performs traditional songs from Latin America. And every semester, Director Michael Birenbaum Quintero, an assistant professor of music at Bowdoin, teaches the changing cast of students a number of complex rhythms on different drums and other instruments.
Ideally Quintero’s students would be able to practice in their free time in their dorm rooms, much like other musicians who can tote a violin or flute from classroom to home. But Quintero’s drums are big, heavy and valuable, so his students are constrained to practicing during class.
Wondering whether he could take advantage of computers to get around this limitation, Quintero last spring asked one of his ensemble players, Walker Kennedy ’15, whether he could create a user-friendly program to help teach students Afro-Latin rhythms. Read the full story.