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Creating dance tracks using GarageBand

Tags: Health and physical education | The Arts | Multimedia – audio/music/sound | Primary | Upper primary |

Students at Somerville Intermediate School developed their own dance tracks for their morning exercise programme using GarageBand.

"In our school, we regularly inquire into the way higher order learning, enabled by digital technologies, meets learners’ needs. "
eLPF 2014

Teaching and learning

The need

The students were involved in a physical education programme, "Dancing in the Street". They were already using GarageBand in music lessons to create compositions so the teacher decided to integrate this technology into physical education and encourage students to develop their own own dance tracks to accompany their morning exercise programme. 

Getting underway

The teacher linked this work with the classroom music programme, in particular, identifying components in music. The students looked at the shape of a song, including the introduction, ending, contrast, and basic instrumentation. The students worked in pairs to create their tracks.

Adding tracks

Once they were underway the students created and added tracks to their song. The teacher limited the students to five tracks – four instrumental tracks plus one other track for their own sounds. This was intended to help them focus on song structure, rather than just adding a multitude of sound.

The students focused on the particular feel they wanted for their song, and chose appropriate loops from the loop browser feature.

Rearranging loops

After discussion about song structure, the students rearranged their loops. They developed an introduction, used space to create contrast, and introduced sounds at different times.

Adding vocal tracks

When the students had finished creating their basic music tracks they added the vocal tracks. Using headphones and a microphone, they recorded their own voice and percussion sounds.

Track edit mode

The students then used the "track edit" feature in GarageBand to make the final touches to their vocal tracks. This involved them cutting, copying, pasting parts, and adding effects.

They exported their finished songs to iTunes.

Connections with the community

During the learning the students converted their tracks to MP3 format. The MP3 files were copied to CD for the students to use in the classroom or listen to at home.

“We can upload the files onto the Internet, they can be put onto CD, you can store them on an iPad or an iPod, and you can email them. You’ve then again opened the door between school and home and that allows Mum and Dad instant access to be able to see what their child did at school today.” 
Louise Field (teacher)

View the associated snapshot of learning - Understanding musical theory through GarageBand .