Yes, that’s right. There is room for technology in the music classroom. Think about it. How much of the music students hear today is produced without technology. Not much. That is for sure.
Recording, sound editing and mixing tools are very cheap. A cheap microphone is not going to produce professional results, but a cheap microphone will definitely achieve the goal for most classes if all you really need to do is capture some music for students to work with. They can be bought for as cheap as five or six bucks. Audacity is an excellent sound editor and recorder, and it has the best price: free! Another free app is Myna, part of the Aviary suite. It is also free and is hosted online where Audacity is downloaded to the computer. Either of these are excellent to use with students as they are both intuitive programs, and will produce a quality product.
This past week, I worked with a 7th grade beginning keyboarding class. Their goal was to record their own track. First, they had to write, play, and record their own melody. Then, using JamStudio, the students put together their own backup music and beat to be played with the melody. When this was done, students took the back-up music and the melody and mixed it together using Audacity.
This really stretched the minds of most of the students. For most of them, this was something totally new. They had never thought about how music was made, the music they listen to every day, but now they were making their very own.
The students spent a several days working on and recording their own melodies. Then, students spent 4 class periods (40min) in the computer lab putting everything together. This seemed to be an adequate amount of time for most of the students to get all the work done.
So, what do students gain from a project like this. First of all, a knowledge and appreciation for how something works that affects their every day lives. Second, they have to think to do this project, and they aren’t working with material that someone else produced. It is all their own! Third, students have recorded a track that they made all on their own. It is their own original music. They can post it on their Facebook or Myspace and let the world listen to their work.