Benton Park Live Coding Orchestra – The Planets

The kids from Benton Park have gone on to media superstardom in this short from the BBC. You’ve met the Benton Park Live Coding Orchestra before – they live-code music in Sonic Pi for school performances. This time, they’re making music about the planets, using Holst’s Planets Suite as a jumping-off point.

Benton Park1

The Live Coding Orchestra kids are in years 5 and 6 (so they’re all between nine and eleven years old); the dancers in this performance are all from the Reception class and the Nursery group (aged five and under). As well as providing music for the little kids to dance to, the Live Coding Orchestra spent some time teaching them how to create music in Sonic Pi – you can see them doing some training at the start of the video.

The music sets the mood for dancing on three different planets, with a rocket trip between each planet orchestrated by Holst. Best thing we’ve seen in ages – thanks Live Coders, and thanks dancers! (If your adblocker has made the video below invisible, you can check it out at the BBC’s website.)


Sam Aaron avatar

It’s really, really lovely to see people take Sonic Pi and run with it. I’m off to visit Benton Park Primary in a few weeks and am looking forward to seeing what they can teach me. Also related is this BBC Radio 4 program which features the Live Coding Orchestra from 3 mins: BBC Radio 4 Future Speak.

Carrie Anne Philbin avatar

Sam I’m jealous! I hope I get to meet them all one day too.

whheydt avatar

Does the “This content not available at this time” (the BBC link)mean they’re blocking non-UK access, or is it a BBC issue?

Liz Upton avatar

It’ll be non-UK access, I’m afraid. (Proxies are your friend.)

Dex Muir avatar

Sorry, Liz and all: proxies are a bust! as soon as you try one it gets locked out. If you’ve any intended International outreach, avoid Auntie Beeb.

Helen Lynn avatar

This is 100% fabulous – well done Benton Park. I particularly love the delighted reaction from one of the younger children when the older pupils are demonstrating how to make music with code!

Karina Townsend avatar

Completely enchanting.
It reminds me of education pioneers Bruce Haack and Miss Nelson – although in that case the music was all made by Bruce Haack.
Also reminiscent of the Experimental Music School (Shoreditch) from 1969 when the kids composed.
Back to the future!

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