An incoming Hayes High School senior recently won more than $10,000 in scholarship money after he designed a tool to help teach jazz piano.
For his project “JazzAssist: a Fusion of a Cultural Artform and Technology,” Adam Fronduti recently won two scholarships from the Believe in Ohio STEM competition worth $1,000 for the regional competition and $10,000 for the state competition.
Fronduti said JazzAssist began as a science fair project, and he started working on it two days before the deadline.
“I usually get my ideas right before I fall asleep,” Fronduti said. “I thought of it and started organizing all the stuff … Eventually, the deadline came up and was like two days away. Basically, that’s when I started building and testing it. I entered into the science fair and honestly, I didn’t even expect to get through districts.”
Fronduti explained that JazzAssist is a “laser guided practice tool for starting jazz improvisation,” and he made the device out of a plastic casing containing an Arduino board and numerous 6 millimeter lasers. Fronduti said users can select a song, pace, and what type of improvisation they’d like to practice and JazzAssist will use the lasers to guide them and show them what keys to play.”
He added the project won several awards, and he was invited to compete at State Science Day before he developed a business plan in order to compete in Believe in Ohio STEM.
Fronduti said he did not expect the project to get past the district science fair and definitely didn’t expect to get scholarships because of it.
“I was extremely surprised,” he said. “It was really fun building it and testing it. I couldn’t have done it without my grandpa (Gordon McDonald). It wouldn’t have been as fun without him.”
Fronduti said he enjoyed the project and is proud of how it came together.
“It was really fun,” he said. “The hardest part was the software. I had to program the micro-controller to send signals to lasers at appropriate times. I didn’t know (the programming language) C++ before working on it. I programmed it in a day.”
Fronduti said he’s glad the project succeeded.
“I’m really thankful to have that opportunity and do something cool with it,” he said. “In everything, I think creativity is so important. Not for the sake of anything material but just for the sake of inventing and doing interesting things. It’s so important to recognize all the different avenues that creativity can take you. There are so many cool things you can make.”
Fronduti added he’s excited for the future.
“This upcoming school year I’m really looking forward to creating new stuff,” he said. “It’s easy to get in a grind mindset, but I’m looking forward to doing some writing and more art in general.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.