This guide walks you through the steps of getting set up to use Python in MUSA 550. It provides links for downloading and installing Python, getting all of the Python packages, you’ll need for the course, launching your first Jupyter notebook, and using the notebook to write your own Python code.


  1. Download and install Python [Instructions]: We’ll be using the conda package manager to install Python and manage dependencies. It comes in two flavors: Anaconda and Miniconda, but I recommend using Miniconda because the full Anaconda download will take up several GB of space on your computer.
  2. Create your first Python environment [Instructions]: The conda application will allows us to easily install new Python packages and keep track of which ones we’ve installed. I’ve put together a list of the packages we’ll need in this course (a group of packages is known as an environment in conda-speak). Note that you’ll be using the command line (either the Anaconda Prompt in Windows or Terminal app in MacOS) to run conda and create your environment. More info on running conda commands from the command line is available here.
  3. Activate the course’s environment [Instructions]: Once you create your new environment and install of the Python packages, you need to tell conda to activate it (more conda-speak) so that you can actually use the packages.
  4. Launch your first Jupyter notebook [Instructions]: With Python set up, we can launch a Jupyter notebook server, open up a new notebook, and start doing some data analysis with Python!


To better familiarize yourself with the conda package manager, I encourage you to go through the Conda User Guide as well.