Riniandi is a tangible platform that allows pre-school children to collaboratively explore the fundamentals of music: Rhythm, tempo and melody.


Exposure to and, later, training in music has been shown to benefit children in various ways. It can e.g. positively effect concentration, patience, self-esteem, school performance and expression. With this in mind, an exploration of children and music was the starting point. It became apparent that in most cases there is a gap between the average age children become interested in music and when their motor skills, maturity and local offerings allow them to start taking music lessons. In many cases, the lessons on offer are also less focused on the children’s creativity and engagement than skill-acquisition, i.e. learning how to play a certain instrument.

This lead to a focus on minimising adult involvement and allowing children to explore, enjoy and engage with the fundamentals of music: Rhythm, tempo and melody. The aim was not to design an instrument but rather to embrace the children’s musical curiosity, imagination and playfulness.

After an initial research phase, during which numerous preschools and music schools were visited, two preschools were involved throughout the entire process. At every stage, prototypes of varying fidelity were brought back to these schools for testing, feedback and validation with children and teachers.

The result is Riniandi – a tangible platform for 2-6 year old children to collaboratively record, arrange and play back rhythms and sounds – perhaps even make music. Two shapes of tokens are provided to record onto – one for sounds/melodies and the other for rhythms. A recording is started by simply placing a token on the recording dock and stopped by removing it. Sounds are recorded via a microphone whereas rhythms are recorded as children tap on the recording dock – similar to tapping on a small drum.

After recording, tokens are placed on the playback dock – in slots corresponding to their shape. When tokens have been put in the desired order, a button is pressed to play back the sequence. During playback, the tempo and volume can be controlled via tangible controls attached to the playback dock. The playback tempo adjusts to the tempo at which the tempo control baton is shaken and the volume rises and falls as a hand is brought closer to or farther away from the volume control. The layout and interactions take inspiration from sheet music (e.g. sequential reading from left to right and two levels on the playback dock, similar to two staffs in sheet music) as well as movements observed in preschool music lessons – used for the controls.


Special thanks to my advisor, Eilidh Dickson, and the wonderful children, teachers and staff at Sunrise Preschool in Hellerup and the Montessori International Preschool in Valby.