Intro to Max/MSP
with Lewis Keller
Date & Time
February 8, 2009, 2pm–5pm
February 15, 2009, 2pm–5pm
February 22, 2009, 2pm–5pm
March 1, 2009, 2pm–5pm
Machine Project
$225 for members
$250 for non-members

What is Max/MSP?

With Max/MSP, you can make your computer do just about anything. It’s an erector set for digital media. It’s a musical instrument. It’s a real-time video mixer.

It’s the brain behind an interactive installation. It’s a tool. It’s a tool to make tools. It could balance your checkbook. It’s whatever you need. It’s a Thneed.

Max is a graphical programming environment – an application that allows you to create your own software, using a toolkit of ready-made user interface objects and basic processing objects that take care of timing, decision-making, reading and writing files, and the like. MSP adds to Max the ability to capture, synthesize, and manipulate audio. Through the use of additional hardware, like sensors and actuators, Max can be made to interact with the physical world.

Who should take this class?

This class is for anyone interested in using Max/MSP to create multimedia programs for sculpture, installation, performance, sound art, data visualization, etc. This is an intro class, and no prior experience with Max or computer programming is required, though existing computer and digital media production skills are highly recommended. We also highly recommend you get familiar with the Max/MSP environment before the first class– exceptional tutorials are available to get you started.


  • Learn to make basic patches (programs) in Max. This class will focus on Max programming concepts, user interface design, and interfacing Max with the real world.
  • Gain a broad understanding of the capabilities of the Max environment, and its potential for extension. Emphasis on combining technologies.
  • Learn how to continue learning Max after the workshop is over.


  • Presented as a hands-on exploration with interjected with experiments, with time for debugging and individual help.

Topics (time permitting):

  • Basic techniques: standard input/output, math, data types, making decisions
  • Using max with MIDI
  • Data management: giving your program a memory
  • Network communication: getting two or more computers to work together
  • Using external controllers: gamepads and the like
  • Capturing, generating, processing, and analyzing live and previously recorded video and sound
  • Introduction to sensors and actuators: technologies and techniques for interfacing Max

What you’ll need:

  • Computer (laptops are nice)
  • Max/MSP (30 day demo or 90-day license available from http://cycling74.com)

What you might also want to bring (optional):

  • Headphones
  • Firewire video camera
  • USB game pad


  • This workshop is limited to 10 people and we expect it to fill quickly. To avoid disappointment and general despair pre-register now.
Class 1
Sunday, February 8, 2pm–5pm
Class 1
with Lewis Keller
Class 2
Sunday, February 15, 2pm–5pm
Class 2
with Lewis Keller
Class 3
Sunday, February 22, 2pm–5pm
Class 3
with Lewis Keller
Class 4
Sunday, March 1, 2pm–5pm
Class 4
with Lewis Keller