Willie Payne

Willie Payne

PhD Candidate in Music Technology at NYU


Creative Coding • CS Education • Accessibility

Comics • Coffee • Running • Rock • Literary Fiction


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

Upper West Side, NYC


Photo of me with short hair and a beard taken in front of a brick wall.

(with short hair)

I develop holistic, creative tools intended to help humans express themselves on their own terms and build confidence and self worth enacting original art.

Before beginning a PhD at NYU, I studied at CU Boulder (Computer Science (BS/MS) and Music Composition (BM)) and was the Outstanding Graduate of the College of Engineering.

Current Projects

Non-Visual Beats

I design musical interactions and interfaces that are accessible to a wide range of users with diverse abilities. I am especially interested in making music computing more accessible in collaboration with people with no vision or low vision. My team developed a screen-reader friendly prototype of a circular drum-machine [video | try].

I recently interned at the Hands-Free Music Project at Microsoft Research. I also work as the Accessible Music Technology Fellow at the Filomen M D'Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School where I transcribe sheet music to convert to braille/large print, and learn from educators who are experts at teaching blind and visually impaired musicians.

Advisor: Amy Hurst

Undergrad Research Assistants: Fabiha Ahmed, Lisa Ye, Michael Zachor, Alex Yixuan Xu (Alum)

Dancing Across Boundaries!

I am the Research Assistant for the NSF funded-project DAB! integrating data science, machine learning, and physical computing in the context of dance and cheerleading. As a component of this work, I am developing danceON, a web-based programming environment for describing animations that respond to body position and movement using a declarative syntax [video | try].

Advisors: Yoav Bergner, Kayla Desportes (PI)

Recent Publications



Willie Payne - 2020