The Tech Zone
Following the success of Music Cornwall in leading Cornwall's Music Hub bid, music technology will become a growing part of what Music Cornwall and its Hub partners offer to schools and young people. The National Plan for Music Education draws attention to how technology can help with teaching traditional music skills, as well as provide exciting new ways to create music in styles that most young people enjoy listening to (e.g., pop/rock). With that in mind there's some examples from the Moodle below.
You can find more info and resources by logging on to the MusicTech Learning Zone on Music Cornwall's moodle. If you need the enrolment password, feel free to email me at email@example.com (free access for Music Cornwall schools and staff).
Quick and easy way to make backing tracks
Jamstudio is a really easy to use website - choose the chords, pick a style of music, select which instruments you want, and press play! In under a minute you can have a band playing your backing track.
You can apply for a free education grant by clicking on the "In the classroom" button on the left side of the screen. This means you can save your tracks, and get your mp3's by email.
You could create backing tracks for instrumental pupils to play along to. I also use it in whole-class "Learning Music Together" lessons - pupils can create a backing track to accompany their own song lyrics, raps or poems.
Audacity - recording and composing using sound
Audacity is free software that allows you to record and edit sound. You can record yourself playing to create a backing track. Or compose by combining different sounds, and download soundfiles such as mp3's from the internet to include in your compositions.
Audacity is often used in primary schools as a way to explore sound, composition and music technology. It is also used by teachers to create backing tracks for student performances or plays.
Click on the link below for a video tutorial that takes you step-by-step through everything from downloading and installing the software to using it.
Smartphone/Tablet Apps of the week
Grooveboxes are an easy way to create 1-bar loops and turn them into a composition. Good fun, and good for learning musical principles in schools which have iPods/iPads or other tablets.
For Android: Caustic 2 (free, or £5.49 for full version) - one of the best-rated groovebox and sequencers for Android. You can use up to 6 devices (synths, bass, drum machine), step sequencer, effects, and mixer.
For iPod/iPad/iPhone: FunkBox - (£2.49). As used by The Gorillaz in their album "The Fall". Has the look and feel of a classic beatbox from the 80's, with samples taken from vintage drum machines.
Lots more apps to be found on the moodle!