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MIDI Association Announces MIDI in Music Education Special Interest Group


The MIDI in Music Education (MiME) Special Interest Group has a goal to define a MIDI Certification Program

During 2021, Athan Billias (MIDI Association President), Denis Labrecque (former MIDI Association Exec Board member) , and Lee Whitmore (MIDI Association Board Member and Treasurer)  initiated biweekly meetings of the MIDI Association MIDI in Music Education (MiME) Special Interest Group. 

The group includes various MIDI users and stakeholder types associated with music, audio, and education, from academia, manufacturers, retailers, and other thought leaders.

During 2021, the MiME Special Interest Group has discussed and worked on topics including:

  • A definition of MIDI users in education and their needs
  • A MIDI curriculum outline given the rollout of MIDI 2.0
  • Ideas and a draft for proposal to the board for a MIDI skills certification program

Regular Participants - In addition Athan, Denis, and Lee, the following are among
organizations' representatives that regularly participate in the MiME Special Interest Group:

  • 1500 Sound Academy, CA
  • Belmont University, TN
  • Full Sail University, FL
  • Guitar Center
  • Musicians Institute, CA
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Romeo Music, Dallas
  • SAE Institutes Latin America
  • Sweetwater
  • Tufts University, MA
  • More 

Lee is the VP of Education for Focusrite and has previously held positions as Berklee's Vice President for education outreach and social entrepreneurship, and also as the inaugural executive director for the Grammy Music Education Coalition so he is a perfect fit as the Special Interest Group chair.

The MIDI in Music Education Charter 

The group developed a charter to establish a concrete set of goals. 

Name of WG: MIDI In Music Education

MIDI In Music Education (MiME) Special Interest Group (SIG)

Topic and purpose (goal) of this WG:

To raise awareness about MIDI in education at schools (secondary, college and university, and pro schools), and for manufacturer and reseller staff members. Current work includes:

  • Establishment of standardized, readily/publicly available content (text/video/modules) for use on MIDI.org, to be added to college courses, more; and,
  • Creation, launch, and actively manage of a MIDI certification program (perhaps a couple levels, general, MIDI 1 and 2, for coding, etc.).

Motivation behind (benefit to the market) of addressing this topic:

  • Teaching of MIDI is fragmented and there is no standardized curriculum
  • We need to explain the benefits of MIDI 2.0 and how it works to music educators.
  • The MIDI Association is the central repository for information on the latest developments in MIDI.
  • In a recent survey our members identified educators as a key segment to reach out to.

Current situation (technology, market influence, etc.):

  • There are many colleges and universities that teach MIDI, but much of the information is outdated.
  • An outline for a curriculum was done in 2015, but it is out of date and does not included MIDI 2.0.
  • AMEI has been running educational MIDI Certification Testing in Japan for many years
  • The Music Education market is vast and confusing — this group should stay focused on a few core goals.

Specific issues which must be addressed by the WG:

  • What tools and assets are needed by the music education community?
  • Can the MIDI Association develop those assets?
  • How can the MIDI Association as a 501-C6 trade organization effectively help to support the teaching of MIDI in music education?
  • What would the impact of forming a 501C3 MIDI Foundation have on this project?

Paul Lehrman from Tufts University and former MIDI Association board member drafted a proposed MIDI Curriculum. 

The MIDI Association MIDI Education Course Outline

Guidelines for a 3-semester program of courses for MIDI education and certification 

 First semester. Introduction to MIDI

I. What is MIDI? 

What can MIDI be used for?

Musical instruments, mixing and processing, live performance, education, synchronization, robotics, stage mechanics, multimedia, toys, web, personal electronics

MIDI History: Pre-MIDI (Voltage Control, Digital Control)

Original use of MIDI was to have one keyboard control several instruments, has gone way beyond that

Benefits of Digital (vs. Analog) Instruments

Control, memory, reproducibility

 II. MIDI Setups

MIDI signal flow and connectivity, live and studio

Local control, MIDI In/Out/Thru

Device-to-device, device-to-computer, inside computer

III. Composing with MIDI 


Basic Operation of Hardware, Software

Tracks/Channels, Data Editing, Data Manipulation, Step Time, Quantizing, etc.


Graphic, Numerical, and Notation

Looping, Clips

Tempo Map: Time Fitting and Scaling

Bouncing MIDI tracks

IV. The MIDI Specification 

Serial data protocol, Bits and Bytes

MIDI Connections: DIN, USB, Bluetooth, Ethernet, iOS, Web MIDI

Thru Jacks, mergers and splitters, Computer interface

MIDI Commands: Command/Status Byte, Data Bytes, Program Change

Channels, Notes, Controllers, Modes, and System Messages

 Second Semester, Advanced MIDI

 V. MIDI Products


Instruments, modules, controllers


Softsynths, DAWs, Max/PD

 VI. MIDI files and General MIDI 

SMF, GM, GM2, GM extensions, DLS

General MIDI devices

VII: Advanced Topics 

Clocking, MTC, Tuning, SysEx, RP and NRP, MPE, Sample Dump

VIII: Other applications 



MIDI Show Control, museums, multimedia

IX: MIDI 2.0 

Expanded control and data bytes

Two-way communication

Property Exchange/CI


Backwards compatibility

Third semester, track A: MIDI for Music 

Using physical controllers—alternative control surfaces

Combining hardware and software synths

Synth programming

Synth control

Plug-ins control

MIDI clocks-synchronization

Looping and clips



Third semester, track B: MIDI for audio production 

Control surfaces

DSP control


MIDI-to-audio, audio-to-MIDI

Pitch-shifting, harmonizing


Third semester, track C: MIDI in live performance 

Alternate controllers


Synth control

DSP control

Looping and clips


Third semester, track D: MIDI for video/multimedia production 

Control surfaces


SFX, sampling

Ambience, DSP


Join the MIDI in Music Education Special Interest Group 

Just select MIDI in Music Education in the form below.
We will be in touch in early February as we are planning an online kick off event. 

MIDI Association Initiatives

Please select all the MIDI Association Initiatives you are interested in.

MIDI Association Initiatives Interests
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