Can STEAM come to the rescue of music education?

Can STEAM come to the rescue of music education?

Technology and art have always courted one another. Throughout history, art has spurred innovation and technological innovation has inspired art. Now it seems that in arts education’s darkest hour, technology is coming to its aid.

One of the largest costs when it comes to music education, besides teacher salaries, is the high cost of instruments. Innovators are turning to 3D printing to solve this problem. Kaitlyn and Matt Hova, who cofounded Hova Labs, have developed the Hovalin, an open source, 3-D printable acoustic violin.

This violin is opensource, meaning that anyone with a 3D printer can print one themselves. The total cost to make the violin comes to about $70–a far cry from the $400-$2000 that one would normally pay for a beginner’s violin. Hova Labs’ website gives step-by-step directions for how to print and assemble the instrument. And while making an instrument is not as easy as simply pressing print, this new technology opens up a whole new world for programs and students strapped for cash.

Why should you buy/build a 3D printed violin, asks Hova Labs? It’s sturdier than standard violins and individual pieces can be easily replaced if broken. You can customize the violin’s shape and color. And besides, “3D printing is sooo cool.”

Assembly of the printed pieces of the Hovalin.

Besides the Hovalin, Hova Labs also allows you to print your own “Hovalele”, a 3D printed ukulele. They are developing the files to create 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 size violins, cellos, basses, along with chin rests, bows, and other accessories to instruments, and ways to make the instruments louder.

Printing instruments is just one way in which STEAM can impact the future of music education. Advancements in keyboard technology are making it easier for students to learn how to play piano, with built-in programs that “level-up” with the students. Technology is even shaping how we enjoy live music. From here, the possibilities seem endless.

Would you print your own violin? Tell us in the comments!


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