Monday, 27 February 2012

Composing with GarageBand for iPad

We started the second part to this iPad project this week - using GarageBand for composition work.

With the BTEC Extended Diploma 1st years, we are doing a unit called Songwriting and requires lots of different approaches to writing material. As many of our students don't necessarily have musicianship skills, a lot of music that is created - especially hip hop - has excellent production values but not always in songwriting terms, such as chord progressions, harmony and melody etc. The way that I see GarageBand for the iPad helping is by using tools like the smart guitar and keyboard where once a key of the song is chosen, the chords within that key appear on the guitar and the learner can try out and record different chord progressions. Similarly, the keyboard can be restricted to scale and makes it a lot easier to create a melody over those chords. 
Cue a debate about the ease of making music these days....!

In short, what I had planned to do over 3 weeks, the learners discovered in the first 3 hours! By the end, many had finished arrangements with 2 or 3 different sections, 3 learners realised that they could record their vocals directly in to the in-built mic and were using it as an audio notepad. I heard, "I've got to get an iPad", 5 or 6 times which I'm taking as a success!

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