S. Alex Ruthmann is the Director of the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (MusEDLab), and core faculty in the Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) at NYU Steinhardt. He is an affiliate faculty member in the NYU Shanghai Program on Creativity and Innovation, and the Educational Communication Technology/Digital Media Design for Learning Program in NYU Steinhardt.
The MusEDLab research team researches and designs new technologies and experiences for music-making, learning, and engagement together with industry and community partners including the New York Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Traditional Chinese Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Yungu School, Portfolio School, Tinkamo, UNESCO, Peer 2 Peer University, League of American Orchestras, and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. He and his Lab collaborators are the recipients of major National Endowment for the Arts and National Science Foundation grants exploring innovation and entrepreneurship in the arts, the interdisciplinary teaching of computational and musical thinking, arts and educational product commercialization strategies, and creative learning through music and media education technologies.
Ruthmann's current research centers on the launch of a new research lab focused on researching sustainable entrepreneurship practices in classical music training programs in collaboration with the New World Symphony. This work is funded by a recent 5-year award from the National Endowment of the Arts. Ruthmann's research portfolio also includes collaborations with colleagues in Norway on a project titled Building Sustainable Digital Practices in Kindergarten Literacy and Arts Programmes (DigiSus). DigiSus is a participatory design research project focused on the design and development of interactive arts spaces infused with non-screen-based digital technologies for creative play, music-making, design, and story creation. Working with colleagues in Finland on the Notio Project, Ruthmann is researching new approaches to the teaching of music theorizing with students, educators, and researchers in Finnish high schools and universities through songwriting and interactive technologies. Through the NYU Creative Experience Design Lab (CXD Lab) at NYU Shanghai, Ruthmann recently launched a research group focused on creative learning in China. The CXD Lab hosts regular meetups, and collaborates with educational and cultural institutions in China, as well as creative technology startups focused on education, the arts, coding, and AI.
Since launching in 2013, the MusEDLab creative learning and software projects are in active use by over 3,000,000 people in over 150 countries across the world and include the aQWERTYon, Groove Pizza, MathScienceMusic.org, PlayWithYourMusic.org, and Music Playgrounds, among others. The Groove Pizza app recently crossed the milestone of 3,300,000 original grooves created since launch in 2016. In 2018, the MusEDLab opened a branch at NYU's Shanghai campus as part of the Program on Creativity and Innovation. The MusEDLab is a collaborative of over 25 NYU students and program affiliates in New York City and Shanghai.
Ruthmann currently serves as Co-Editor of the International Journal of Music Education and is co-author of the new book Scratch Music Projects, an introduction to creative music coding projects in MIT's Scratch. He serves as a member of the editorial/advisory boards of the British Journal of Music Education, Journal of Popular Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, and the Journal of Music and Meaning. Ruthmann recently co-edited major research handbooks including the Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education, and the Routledge Companion to Music, Technology and Education. In prior years he has served as President of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, Chair of the Creativity special research interest group of the Society for Research in Music Education, Co-Editor and Managing Editor of the International Journal of Education & the Arts, Associate Editor of the Journal of Music, Technology, and Education, and Program Director for Music Education at NYU Steinhardt. Ruthmann received an interdisciplinary B.Mus. degree from the University of Michigan in Music and Technology, and M.Mus. and Ph.D. degrees in Music Education (cognate in Educational Leadership) from Oakland University.
- Scratch Music Projects (Co-Author with Andrew Brown)
- Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (Co-Editor with Roger Mantie)
- Routledge Companion to Music, Technology and Education (Co-Editor with Evangelos Himonides and Andrew King)
- Exploring New Media Musically and Creatively, in Teaching Music Creatively (2nd Edition)
- Whose agency matters? Negotiating pedagogical and creative intent during composing experiences. Research Studies in Music Education.
- Music making in Scratch: High floors, low ceilings, and narrow walls? (Co-Author with Willie Payne). Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy.
- The composers workshop: An approach to composing in the classroom. Music Educators Journal
- Google Scholar Profile