Willie Payne

PhD Candidate in Music Technology at NYU


Creative Expression • Accessibility • CS Ed

Comics • Coffee • Running • New Music • New Fiction

Reach Me

william [dot] payne [at] nyu [dot] edu

Upper West Side, NYC

Skinny Jewish dude with short curly hair, clear glasses with a white shirt and denim jacket.

About Willie

I am a PhD Candidate in Music Technology at New York University. As of 2020, I am the research assistant for the NSF funded project Dancing Across Boundaries (DAB!) and the Accessible Music Technology Fellow at The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) School. My PhD advisor is Amy Hurst, and my mentors are Yoav Bergner, Kayla DesPortes, and R. Luke DuBois.

I study how technology can facilitate creative expression and open pathways for people to express themselves on their own terms. I am especially interested in accessible musical instruments and creative coding environments. I use a participatory approach to research in which I work closely with end-users throughout a design process and situate interventions in authentic learning and art making environments.

I have published work at highly selective HCI conferences. I recently won Best Technical Paper at Web4All '22 and Best Paper Honorable Mention at CHI '21. I regularly co-author with undergraduate students. My mentorship efforts received recognition at NYU, and my students won 3rd place at the NYU Engineering Research Expo.

Prior to beginning my PhD, I received a BS/MS in Computer Science and a BM in Music Composition from CU Boulder. I attended CU on a Boettcher Scholarship (full-ride to any Colorado university) and was the Outstanding Graduate of Engineering. At CU I performed in new-music ensembles like the Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrk), studied with Shaun Kane, Clayton Lewis, and Michael Theodore, and lived in the Engineering Honors Program.

Selected Projects


2022 / accessible music technology
Text-based music notation software for writing braille and print scores.


MusEDLab VIP, FMDG School, Amy Hurst, R. Luke DuBois



2020 / culturally relevent, creative coding, cs ed
Domain specific programming language for building animations that react to movement.


2019 / accessible music technology
Eye controlled synthesizer with sequencing and effects automation.

Single-Input Instruments

2019 / accessible music technology
Series of audio-visual interactives that can be played with one button.

Non-Visual Beats

2019 / accessible music technology
Drum sequencer exploring non-visual interactions through keyboard nav, text-to-speech, and sonification.


2018 / creative coding
Javascript API for interacting with BLE Tinkamo blocks in the browser for rapid physical computing prototypes.


2016 / experimental, iPads
Boulder Image and Sound Network - multimedia performance ensemble.

Electromagnetic Dulcimer

2016 / new instrument for musical expression
Networked, ambient strings. Part of the Solid Noise Robot Ensemble.

Guitar Processor

2015 / guitar effects
Multi-effects patch with standard and experimental sounds. Built in Max.


Mentorship is important to me. Undergraduate students who enrolled in Vertically Integrated Projects are marked with † while Masters students I mentored for thesis credit are marked with ‡.

Conference Proceedings

Posters and Demos

Features and Talks


githubAbility ProjectMusic + Audio Research LabFMDG Music SchoolLEARN
Willie Payne - 2023