Stepping Tones


Building a Musical Instrument for Kids


Stepping Tones is a multi-user projection-mapped step sequencer for kids. It was installed at the San Jose Tech Museum for 6 months.

Interactive Music Installation for All Ages

As member of Anticlockwise Arts, I developed the initial concept for Stepping Tones and led the design.

The project goal was to create a music toy that could be played by multiple participants. A secondary goal was to help teach the principles of rhythm.

The target audience was youth aged 6-14.  


Drum Pads & Loops

Participants each get a pair of drumsticks and a set of drum pads. When they play the drum, a note appears in the looping ring above.


Music Experimentation

Stepping Tones evolved from a series of music prototypes in the Anticlockwise Arts studio.


Custom Fabrication

The exhibit required custom station fabrication. We soldered arcade buttons and wired drum triggers to a MIDI converter.

The Process

Stepping Tones allows participants to “build up” a song by playing notes using the drum pads.

The big lesson I learned from this project is that kids will destroy everything if you give them a mallet :) We had to replace the drum pads over and over. We ended up switching to pillow-soft drum sticks.

The software was written using C++ and JUCE for the audio sequencer. The presentation layer was written using Unity.


Keywords: Music Installation, Interactive, C++, Unity, Museum, Creative Collaboration

Matt Sonic