Technology

One of the knock-on effects of all the advances in computer technology is that some remarkable little black boxes are now available. They make it possible for the tiniest of movements to have a big musical effect. Here are just some of them.

  • Soundbeam uses an invisible sonic beam to give anyone control of electronic instruments.
  • Apollo Ensemble links in with your computer to give as simple or complex a range of possibilities as you like.
  • iPads are a great tool for making music. So many schools and individuals have them now, and they can be an untapped source of accessible instruments. There are hundreds of apps, many of which are free, and it’s easy to play a big variety of instruments on iPads. Not all are equally accessible, so to make it easier for you to choose, here’s a list of some iPad apps we like.

Computers

The range of computerised facilities available at very low cost is mind-numbing. You can:

  • Turn your computer into a sophisticated multi-track recording studio. This requires a basic programme such as ‘Audacity‘ (available to download free) and as good a microphone as you can lay your hands on.
  • Use loop based programmes such as Acid or Garage Band to compose music based on short loops of sound. These take about an hour to become familiar with and are a direct window onto the world of pop music.
  • Use the computer as a vehicle for composing a soundtrack to a piece of video. This is something that has opened up possibilities that a few years ago were only possible in the most advanced recording studios.
  • Store a large variety of music for listening.
  • Keep CD quality recordings of pupils’ work – and give pupils copies of their own music on CD or memory stick.