Garageband The Perfect Tool For Student Composition

Every year I write at least one blog post lauding the brilliance of Garageband as a creative tool for students. Again, I cannot speak highly enough of the power of GB especially when it is used as a tool for student composition. The underpinning philosophy that Kynan Robinson and I have is that we believe in empowering the student as the composer and creator. One of the many things I have learnt from working closely with Kynan is the concept of ‘demystifying¬†the role of the composer’. It is expected in an art classroom that students will practice their creativity. The same should apply to the music classroom. Students should be given the freedom to compose and test out their musical ideas. Garageband is one of those tools that empowers the students to achieve this.

After two terms of learning to compose on Orff and untuned percussion instruments. Grade 5 and 6 students have been given the task to demonstrate the skills and creative ideas that they have developed to compose a piece of music using GB. Similar to last terms composition task, Kynan and I set some parameters. The students had to compose a piece that consisted of a Bass, main melody and accompanying harmonic melodies. The piece had to be in either binary (AB) or ternary (ABA) form.  Existing Loops inside GB were to be used to create the bass and accompanying parts. However, they had to use a Midi Keyboard to play and record their main melodic ideas. This provided a great opportunity to discuss the concepts of Midi and dive deeper into some of the interesting features of GB. For instance creating your own midi sounds, manipulating their melodic ideas, using the editing tools and notating tools.

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