Could 3-D Printing Save Music Education?

D.C. chef Erik Bruner-Yang interviews Jill-of-all-trades Kaitlyn Hova about her plan to infuse STEM education with open source, 3-D printable instruments

Kaitlyn Hova is many things: a violinist, a web developer, a designer, a composer and a neuroscientist. And it was the blurring of these interests that bore a clear and clever idea.

As music programs are being slashed from school budgets, and STEM education is receiving more funding, why not take advantage of the influx of 3-D printers and teach students how to print their own musical instruments?

Hova and her husband, who cofounded Hova Labs, have developed the Hovalin, an open source, 3-D printable acoustic violin.

At “The Long Conversation,” an event that brought together 25 thinkers for an eight-hour relay of two-person dialogues at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building last December, Hova even performed on a souped-up Hovalin that paired her notes with a colorful light show emitted from the transparent body of the instrument.

Hova was inspired by her own experience with synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sense (hearing, for instance) leads to an involuntary stimulation of another sense (say, sight).

“I hear sound in color,” Hova explained at the event. “Whenever I hear the note D, I see blue. When I hear E, it’s yellow. F is a weird light green. G is super green. A is orangish-red. B is purple. C is super red.”

Watch Hova’s performance—and mark your calendars for this year’s “Long Conversation,” which will bring an impressive group of scientists, musicians, inventors, tech CEOs and others together on December 7, 2018. Tune in on livestream here.

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