This class is for high school students at Winnebago Lutheran Academy who want to learn how to make music on computers. We use Audacity and Garageband as our main tools, and we have fun almost every single day figuring out how to make music using audio and MIDI, but we also learn how to record vocals and instruments and even play guitar and drums if we need to.
We keep personal blogs (look on the right column of this page and click on our names) to help us remember what we've been working on, keep track of the all the decisions that we've made on our projects, and to share with our family and friends the music that we've created.
Dance Project 1-Application
Today the students started making cuts on their own songs to show that they understood Dance Project 1. They were asked to bring in one or two songs of their own that they would like to shorten and make their own arrangement of in Audacity. The process is as follows: 1. Import the song from the CD into iTunes as a WAV file (Check the file format for importing in the preferences for iTunes: iTunes>Preferences>Advanced>Importing) by dragging it from the CD listing in iTunes to the Music Library. Rename the track before you import it if its name didn't come up automatically, otherwise you'll have a lot of songs in your music library called "Track 1".
2. Reveal where that song file is on your hard drive by clicking on the title in the iTunes music library and pressing open apple-R on your keyboard. Click the column view button to show the nested folders and trace the path back to your music folder.
3. Open Audacity, select "New Project" if one doesn't open automatically, and select "Import Audio" from under the Project menu. Follow the path of the nested iTunes you discovered in step 2 to find your song file. The path should look something like Music>iTunes>iTunes Music>Unknown Artist>Unknown Album>songtitle.wav
4. If you have another song that you want to combine with your first one, you can import it using the same steps in #1-3.
5. Be creative as you make your splits, cuts, edits, and decisions. The goal of this project is to (a) show your knowledge of splitting and combining audio, by (b) applying it so songs you already know.
6. Cut carefully around beats. Make sure you make your splits go right up to the next beat (the tallest waves) so that there are no "hiccoughs" in your music.
7. Save your project often!
8. Export the final file as a WAV and drag it into iTunes.
I'll explain more about the end process of handing in your files to me in class.
Dale Witte is the choir director and music technology teacher at Winnebago Lutheran Academy, Fond du Lac, WI. He has been teaching since January 1990 and really enjoys teaching students how God's gift of music works. Dale is also a church organist, piano player, violinist, and church music composer.