Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lesson Plan: Arranging/Composing on the iPad with Garageband

We are finishing up music theory class and I am taking "great songs" and breaking them down a bit.

I wrote out the theme/ostinato for Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for the class. We practiced playing the theme.  We listened to the entire piece, using the iPad to play the ostinato along with the recording.

Today we took the theme and I asked them to recompose the melody over an 8 bar blues structure.  First I played them an example that I put together.

The students then took garageband and made 8 bar versions.  We had some students plug their guitars in the iPad, some do multi-track recording on the piano, and some use the set patterns embedded in the program.  We had some really good versions.

I like this assignment because they have to connect listening with performing and with composing.  I am seeing big progress in their work.  I think they are starting to get it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using the iPad in the music class

I have been a little slow lately.  I feel I am underutilizing the equipment.  Here are some of the ways we have used the iPads lately:

1. Used Garageband to play the ostinato from Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor along with recording in music theory class.
2. Created iMovie trailers using our new iPad2s.
3. Choir used iPads to listen to different versions from youTube of the 24 Italian Songs.
4. Played Dustbuster in Choir.
5. Played chords from "I'm Yours" using Six Strings.

Monday, May 14, 2012

iAlchemy reflections

Our iAlchemy performance took kids who weren't performing in our band or choir (in general) and had them perform on iPads as full members of the orchestra.

From their reflections.

Write about the experience.  What did you learn?  Give specifics and details.
This experience really opened my eyes to the real professionals that are out there. Until that night I never realized how much work and time these people put in. I wasn't sure of how I would feel about the symphony orchestra because it was something that I had never experienced before, but now I would love to go again. I learned that even all of the preparation in the world still can't fully prepare you for things that go wrong, but I also learned that when things do go wrong, you can't stop. You have to push through and make the show enjoyable for the crowd regardless of what happens, and I think we accomplished that. I also learned that pushing yourself pays off. In the beginning this seemed like an impossible task to reach and achieve, but we did it, and I am so proud of that. We put in countless hours of practice for this to try and maximize perfection, which gave us a little taste of what the WSO musicians do every day. I am so thankful for this opportunity because it allowed us to have a professional experience in a real world event, one that marked the start of something new, we werent doing a mock performance in a high school setting, we were in the action, making the difference by showing that students such as ourselves were capable of succeeding in a professional setting.

I thought this was an amazing experience. I was never into classical music, but after seeing the symphony play I was amazed. It was a life changing experience. I had no idea it was possible to make such ear soothing music with all of those instruments. When I first found out about this project I thought it was really stupid and I wasn't looking forward to it at all. After this experience I am so glad we did this. It honestly made me appreciate this genre of music so much more. Everyone of the musicians at this event were extremely talented. This event made me understand the dedication these musicians have. I am honored I was able to participate in this event

Sunday, May 13, 2012

iAlchemy Performance

The iAlchemy performance was last night and it went really well.

I wasn't sure the performance space would work -- we were on a 2nd stage in the lobby-- but it really did. The whole crowd surrounded us (and peered down from the balcony) and it really created a great effect.

My kids did great and looked great.  We had an interesting moment where 1/2 way through the piece piano music began to play.  Initially we though an iPad was cycling, but now we think the pianist for the 2nd half was warming up for the Tchaikovsky piano concerto and it was getting picked up by the house mic and fed into the speakers.

Good time all around.

Monday, May 7, 2012


We made an album and it just went live.  We used Legacy Productions and they were very helpful through the whole process.

This is a growing and developing group and I would appreciate any support in selling the album.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Creating eBooks in Choir Class

I have three rehearsals before our concert.  Yesterday I took a day to finish some smartmusic tests and to create ebooks.

We are performing Homeward Bound by Marta Keen.  I asked students to partner up and use the iPad to create an ebook based on the song.  I asked them to do the following:

  • Choose the app (Book Creator, Scribble Press, My Story) that would work best for them.  Each app has slightly different capabilities.
  • Either take write the lyrics verbatim or "tell a story" with the same meaning.
  • Write it for 1st graders.
  • Be able to share it and turn it in on time.
I spoke for a moment about music standards; that we connect with art and literature.  I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the books.  These sessions are sometimes challenging as I have a group of students who just. can't. work. independently.

You can create on the iPad.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Earl MacDonald writes a lot

Check out Earl's page.  This is an awesome project where he wrote a tune a day for the month of February.  Each tune was accompanied by a blog post, .pdf file, and lots of angst.

He's now published each with a recording.  Great job!