Something I’ve noticed since the opening of the library’s audio recording booth is that many people who are very talented rappers have very rudimentary audio production skills. This is a shame because many times I see people recycling the instrumental beds of other, more established recording artists like Drake or Lil Wayne. This is unfortunate because it is limiting to musical artists who want to claim their songs as their own and post them to social media sites that prohibit posting copyrighted material. Freestyling over mainstream beats is also the sign of amateurism in some circles and it is hard enough to stand out in the music world as an individual with a unique sound without a unique instrument bed.
This is my opinion and I decided to try some programs to address that situation. I have planned a twice monthly program utilizing an inexpensive Digital Audio Workstation that is installed onto 6 of the computers in the library. I have access to an overhead projector that allows me to walk students through the various windows and interfaces that aid in the creation of some phat beats.
At first glance the tool bar is pretty confusing, but I use a Powerpoint that only I can see to guide my students through the step sequencer, playlist and effects windows. (Dj Cafe). I use the Pharell Song “Happy” as an example of the different parts of songs. This song contains easily identifiable Verses, Choruses and Breaks and it is pretty tame content wise.
These are couple of lil dudes made out of a conductive clay that was whipped up by one of the most talented YA librarians I know, Mari put on a workshop about simple circuits and as a bonus, we used cookie cutters that were printed on the 3D printer! We also made brushbots from a pager motor, a decapitated toothbrush and a watch battery. I hacked mine to become a “Whopperbot.”
I’ve had the opportunity to give an intro to 3D design class several times now and each time I learn a little more. I am also surprised at how interest keeps building in the service. I have started surveying the folks who come to the classes to try to get an idea of where to grow the program. The last survey was pretty unanimous in that participants want more advanced training with CAD software. I used an old advertising trick that doctors hate to get them to fill out the surveys, I offered one free print to whomever completed a 5 question Survey Monkey questionnaire.
Last Wednesday I gave a songwriting workshop that detailed the process of creating songs using the musical recording program Garageband. Here is the Powerpoint portion. The rest of the program was a live demonstration on the ways to put together the elements of a song using the different tracks types in Garageband.
Last Wednesday saw the first ever YA GarageBand Workshop, happening from 7-8 PM. In it I used the department’s overhead projector to walk the participants through the main steps. The program was a blend of song writing theory and technical step-by-steps. Teens were given hands-on advice about the structure of songs such as the meaning of Verse and Chorus and the function of a Bridge, and insight into the workings of Apple’s Music Making Software, GarageBand. Each participant finished the workshop with a short song in MP3 format to share and save.