A funny thing happened on the way to the future. Thing is, at the same time the computer has improved as a music-making instrument, so, too, has standalone hardware.
The reality is, hardware rigs for music making are more affordable and more accessible than they ever were before. They do more, better. They’re easier to use. And when it comes time to record and arrange, the computer doesn’t require the investment of cost and time it once did, either.
So the upshot is, even the computer is making it easier to spend some time working with hardware. And that means more time to focus on improvising with your hands – experimenting with gear and actually making music – and less time setting things up. (Trust me on this. It’s funny to go back and look at old artist interviews, because we’re remembering things through rose-colored glasses – a lot of gear was harder to use and broke more often and cost more than you might remember. The best of times is now.)
The hardware still pays dividends as it always did. It forces you to focus on a knob, a fader, a key, on making some gesture in the moment – something the open-ended computer screen can’t always do. And, whatever the reason, it’s just a lot of fun.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.