About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1916-1921
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0142

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain


D. Abrahams

University of Arkansas - Fayetteville (UNITED STATES)
In this session, I outline the results of a year-long collaborative project between the music education department and Tesseract Immersive Game Design department at the University of Arkansas to create and develop a music composition modification for the video game Minecraft. At its core, Minecraft is a cube-based building game -- essentially an infinite, interactive Lego set. The “creator” mode within the game is a useful tool in developing teaching ideas to enhance traditional game play for educational use. The concept of developing “mods” is increasing in popularity because they can be developed freely. Minecraft was attractive to us as a vehicle for this project because it is very popular because for children, Minecraft is a fun video game where users can imagine and design interactive worlds alone or together with friends. However, for educators, it can be an educational tool to foster musical imagination, musical intellect, musical creativity and musical performance through composition promoting 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

The following questions guided the design process. They were:
1. How might we link three-dimensional space and music composition through Minecraft?
2. How might we use Minecraft to assist children becoming musical people?
3. How might we use Minecraft to encourage critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity in the music classroom?
4. How might we use Minecraft to foster musical imagination, musical intellect, and musical creativity?

During the 2017-2018 academic year, two undergraduate college music education majors and two computer science majors at the University of Arkansas worked collaboratively to design and develop a Minecraft modification to assist in the teaching and learning of musical composition. Two faculty members, one in music education and the other in classical studies coordinated the project and served as facilitators to guide students as they completed their portions of the project. At the end of the academic year, the students created CompositionCraft. Bruner’s stages of cognitive representation served as a theoretical framework. The mod linked three-dimensional space and musical composition within the world of the video game. Students were able to map blocks to musical notation where every block became equal to one quarter note of musical notation. The world, then, provided the rest -- stack blocks vertically and they form a musical staff. This provided students opportunities to embed composed music into three-dimensional structures. The Minecraft building blocks served as iconic or visual representations of musical notation and of musical thinking. Musical composition in turn became a shared thinking process between music and engineering.

This session is in two parts. First, I present our design and development process. After, participants will have the opportunity to try the CompositionCraft mod and create musical compositions in Minecraft.
author = {Abrahams, D.},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0142},
url = {https://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0142},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {1916-1921}}
AU - D. Abrahams
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0142
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 1916
EP - 1921
ER -
D. Abrahams (2018) ENGAGING MUSIC STUDENTS THROUGH MINECRAFT, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 1916-1921.