Take Your Daughter To Hack Day With: Paul & Jennie Lamere

Posted August 16

Music Hack Day is an international 24-hour event where programmers, designers and artists come together to conceptualize, build and demo the future of music. Software, hardware, mobile, web, instruments, art — anything goes as long as it’s music related. At a Music Hack Day, you have 24 hours to build something cool and then show it off to your peers. It is a fun way to learn about something new, to be immersed in music technology for a weekend, and to hang out with lots of really smart, interesting people who love music and building things.

About two years ago, I brought my then-15-year-old daughter along to the Boston Music Hack day so that she could get a taste of what it is all about. She got the hang of it really quickly, and came up with an idea for an awesome hack. We worked on it together that weekend (she wrote the HTML, CSS and did the overall design, while I did the Python and Javascript) and at the end of the weekend we had our first father-daughter music hack: Jennie’s Ultimate Roadtrip. The hack helps you plan a road trip so that you’ll maximize the number of great concerts you can attend along the way. You give the app your starting and ending city, your starting and ending dates, and the names of some of your favorite artists, and Jennie’s Ultimate Road Trip will search through the many events to find the ones that fit your route. It then creates a schedule of shows that you’d like to see and gives you an itinerary and map.

It was a popular hack at the event and we even won the Songkick prize. Better still, a few months later Jennie’s Ultimate Roadtrip was nominated for The Best Music Hack at the MTV O Music Awards. Jennie was the only MTV-nominated student in the history of her high school, which counts for something.

A year later, we collaborated again at another Music Hack Day, this time on a music playing app. We wanted to turn a popular song into a musical instrument, to give people a new way to interact with the music beyond passive listening. We worked together to build an app called Bohemian Rhapsichord, which takes the Queen classic, carves it up and turns it into something you can play and interact with in your web browser (pictured above). The hack turned out to be popular (music hacking secret: put music that people love into your app) and was once again nominated for an MTV O Music Award for Best Music Hack. We were quite excited to learn this summer that our hack won the award for Best Music Hack, making Jennie the only person in her high school to have two MTV nominations and an MTV award under her belt (which I think even tops Rebecca Black, so there!).

Jennie’s exposure and success at Music Hack Days have helped encourage her in other technology pursuits. She’s joined the local FIRST Robotics team where she spends her spare time programming robots and is looking forward to going to engineering school to get a computer science degree.

This Friday, Jennie and I will be heading down to Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood to take part in DUMBO Summer Friday. We’ll be showing off some nifty music hacks that have been built recently, including Bohemian Rhapsichord. We are especially excited to show off a brand-new hack called Bangarang Boomerang. This hack can turn you into Skrillex with about five minutes of practice. Be sure to come by if you are in New York on Friday.