I did this lesson today in each class as an introduction to arranging/composing.
Each student has an iPad with Garageband. You can certainly do this lesson in groups, but its not as productive.
1. I had a brief discussion of what a producer is in recorded music. I talked about George Martin and the Beatles and also American Idol, which has been featuring prime producers like Don Was this year. I outlined a producer responsibilities, how they decide the instruments, tempo, how to layer the music, etc...
2. I briefly explained how this is arranging.
3. Next, I played a 8 bar loop my daughter made of Happy Birthday (see below).
4. I modeled how to open garageband, find the microphone, and find loops. I spent maybe 90 seconds on this. Most students had never seen the app.
5. Students were asked to arrange an 8 measure loop of Happy Birthday. They could use prerecorded loops or play their own parts.
6. Students had to name their file and send to iTunes.
What went well:
1. Everyone made a song loop.
2. Everyone was engaged.
3. Many discussions occurred as I went around the classroom (why 8 measures, does that drum beat match the bass line, etc...).
4. Its so nice to have everyone be able to spread out in class.
5. I don't spend days/weeks on the software. We just talk about music.
What didn't go well:
1. Many students didn't record a vocal track.
2. Many students didn't produce their best work.
What I would change:
1. I would have everyone record a vocal track before we split up.
2. I need to find an easier way to save the files and sort through them.
3. I would publish all the files. Publishing seems to raise the stakes.
Claudia's version (she's five)