Training Day Thrills

While they had dipped their feet in before, our fantastic Aalto University coding instructors – or our Band of Nerds, as we lovingly call them – truly took the plunge into the world of Sonic Pi at an intensive training camp held by Mehackit last week. With the guidance of Mehackit’s Tommi Toivonen and Mikko Eloholma, the group of 10 quickly learned to navigate the coding environment and create their own songs. They gradually moved up from dog-paddling to breaststroke in their knowledge of Sonic Pi, while also learning how to lead a workshop in an inspiring and fruitful way. “We could not have asked for better trainers than Tommi and Mikko. They are the best”, says Sonia, who will be instructing CodeBus workshops in May.

At the start of the one-day camp, a hint of nervousness could be sensed in the air. After all, it was a day of firsts: first time properly learning Sonic Pi, and the first time spending time together as a group. However, it did not take long for the butterflies to subside and be replaced with excitement and a strong sense of team spirit. According to Ronja, who hops on the CodeBus in April, there was a warm atmosphere at the camp. “We all had a blast and there were good vibes all around”, she says.

When asked to name one take-away they gained from the camp, both Ronja and Sonja stress the importance of letting go of one’s inhibitions. “I learned how important it is to be unafraid of making mistakes. Trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it is the best learning experience”, Ronja elaborates. “It’s all about self-expression, not perfection. We’re not here to create symphonies, we’re here to have fun”, Sonia adds.

The Aalto instructors’ enthusiasm and motivation to advance CodeBus’ mission seeps through their speech as they describe what they wish to pass on to the children. Their hope is that approaching an abstract thing like coding through an intuitive method like music will help the children understand that technology and programmatic thinking is for everyone. A strong desire to empower through encouraging creativity and facilitating feelings of accomplishment is apparent.

“I really hope this experience can have a lasting effect on the children”, Ronja says excitedly.