Tuesday, May 22, 2007

eLive - Enhancing the Music Curriculum

Joe Moretti

Joe is an Apple Distinguished Educator. He described himself as a musician. He is a music educator and interested in making things work in the classroom - not in selling kit!

He has some pdfs and loops etc. in the BETT bit of his site.

Why is singing everywhere except in the music classroom? About class music making, instruments. What should we look for in software for music?
  • Intuitive - has to be easy to use.
  • Compatibility/Integration
  • Range of features v transparency (many pro-tools are overloaded from a teaching point of view).
  • Real world interface/relevance
  • Inclusivity (Schools can be good at classical, some good at rock but Garageband does both!)
iLife comes pre-installed, free and integrated. Joe puts Garageband in the middle and goes into podcasting, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, mp3 player - an it's all one-click.

Can plug the guitar straight into the mac - no messing, no extras. Joe thinks it's good that children are starting to carry real instruments about with them - last year saw the highest ever sales of guitars.

He then went into a demontartion of Garageband. Showed click and drag of adding drum loops (sticking to green loops because they can be edited). No problems with drivers, power supply etc. just plug in a midi keyboard and off it goes. Used keyboard shortcuts like C to cycle, R to record. Can ask for a count in and metronome. Even with only two tracks you can talk about about structure, texture etc. They are midi instruments so everything contained in the computer, no need for mixers, equalisers etc. Makes it easier to move from one place to another.

Can double click on a track to show it in different formats, including staff notation which can be edited. If all they do is create on a laptop and leave it there, the music is dead. With Garageband, you can do a one click send to iTunes. From iTunes, you can burn it to an audio CD which they can take to other classes. (As a aside, Joe thinks every child should be given a laptop to take to school.) The pupils can then swap and share - the music is alive. Also helps teacers who can easily create CDs to send to the exam board.

When recording real instruments, the details section allows all sorts of effects, eg. input volume, noise gates, different amplifiers, etc. Can tweak all the bits and then save as an instrument that can then be used elsewhere. Bass players, guitarists etc. can then act as session musicians on each other's pieces. (Or just add a wall of guitar tracks. Joe says, "You can never have too many guitars.")

With just the built in microphones and the vocal transformer you can change voices, create radio plays - creating characters, recording male parts in an all girl school, ... Adding sound effects etc. can also all be done on the computer. For example, Craigmount (sp?) High school did a version of "Monkeys on a Plane".

Click on the podcast icon and you get ready made theme tunes, stingers, sound effects ad more. All these effects can have added effects like reverb to change the sounds.

Click on media to add photos from iPhoto or movies (e.g. soundtrack for Myst movies which can be used free in education). Joe has never found another piece of software that can do that kind integration with music, movies, etc.

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