Women in Music Technology Group Offers Workshops, Mentoring

Wes McRae | June 5, 2023 – Atlanta, GA

The School of Music's Women in Music Technology (WiMT) group just completed one of their busiest semesters ever, hosting lectures from music technology experts and supporting underrepresented or marginalized people entering the field.

The group was founded at Georgia Tech and remains unique to the music technology program here. "It was started in 2016 or 2017 by Anna Xambó, a postdoctoral scholar, and Lea Ikkache, a fellow master's student in music technology," Qianyi Rose Sun said.

Sun, the group's president, is now a master's student in the same program. When she entered the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology program, the fledgling group was active, but as leaders graduated and the pandemic shut down campus, WiMT diminish, she said. In 2021, Sun and other students decided to revive the group.

"The key was to register it as an official student organization that's affiliated with Tech. That way WiMT can stay around longer, we can pass it down to future students, and we have access to resources that Tech offers."

"Women in Music Technology is one of the most important student organizations in the arts at Georgia Tech," said Jason Freeman, chair of the School. "It helps create an inclusive and supportive culture within the School of Music and to highlight long-standing issues within the field."

"The School of Music's industry partners are always thrilled to learn about the organization and find ways to connect."

Sharing Expertise from Industry and Academia

WiMT's mission is to create a community for women and other minorities in the field of music technology to share information, socialize, and support each other, Sun said.

"We host a series of guest speakers, mostly drawn from our personal connections. We invite them in and they talk about their research and experience as a woman or minority in the field," she said.

"Noura Howell, an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, talked about the ethical use of AI and what if we use data to help people build a deeper connection. One of her projects, the Heart Sound Bench, was a bench that seated two people who could then hear each other's heartbeat, and that increased empathy between the two people."

From industry, the group invited Daniela Rivera, a mixing engineer and Governor for the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), Sun said. "She gave an informal talk about her work, and a lot of our students, especially undergrads, are super interested in recording and mixing."

"But she also talked about her experience as a woman in the industry, how few women there are, and how even on projects where she was the principal engineer, people approached her male intern for help."

The Guthman Musical Instrument Competition also gave the group access to more perspectives, according to Sun. Iran Sanadzadeh, a finalist in the Guthman Competition, and one of the judges, Morwaread Farbood, Associate Director of Music Technology at New York University, presented for WiMT in 2023.

Peer Sharing and Mentoring

Last year, Sun started a mentorship program that has expanded to the School as a whole. "It started as senior graduate students mentoring newer grad students in the group. Now, the newer students have someone to reach out to if they want to know about classes, or research, or more importantly, just a friend to hang out with."

The School adopted the mentoring model, and now provides each incoming student with the same kind of support. "My plan for this mentorship network is to work with alumni and see if they're willing to take on mentees from the current students' group."

Peer workshops are a new feature of WiMT, Sun said. "In the School of Music we have this really cool atmosphere where everybody wants to learn from everybody else. We wanted to provide a platform for that, so we started peer-sharing workshops."

"Last semester, we had two students come in and do a live coding workshop. Basically, they went over how to do live coding, and then we each did a mini project," she said.

"Live coding is basically a musical art form where you have a computer and you write programs that generate music. So you just continuously write music, as programs and then you evaluate it in real-time," said Ash Vinay, one of the music technology doctoral students who led the workshop.

The group hopes to offer a workshop for K-12 students next, Sun said. "We thought, where is a good place to start with diversity and inclusion? And it would be with kids or younger people."

"We'd like to give them an overview of what music technology is, teach them how to run a basic recording session, and show them some digital instruments."


If you can't find the information you were looking for, we'll get you to the right place.
Contact Us