Keeping up with the latest music tools can be a challenge. Paula Lepore Burrough taps into the power of social networking to shortlist some favourites.
It does not seem so long ago that music became more portable with the advent of the boom box in the mid 1980’s. The image of a young person walking down the street with a television-sized stereo hoisted on his shoulder, blasting out tunes, now seems comical and anachronistic. Today, with almost universal connectivity and smaller devices, we have access to all genres of music – any time, any place – whether it’s our personal, digitised collection or one of the various worldwide radio stations. Add to that the use of creative tools to produce our own unique sounds and we’re looking at a radically new world of music technology.
“Beatwave is a free application (app) that allows you to create a beat-like song in a wave, using a grid that is placed on your screen,” says Drew Melmoth from Seoul Foreign British School. “By pressing individual squares on the grid you create new sounds. A line swipes across the screen and represents the tempo and as the line passes across the grid, it activates a square to create a noise. You can create a song with various layers of different beats, melodies and underlying tones, change the speed of the tempo and add new sounds using sound bites. You can share your composition by email or save it to your phone.”
“Shazam is one of the most-used apps on my phone,” says Jennifer Roman from Myers Elementary, Grand Blanc, Michigan, US. “It still amazes me that with one click on the phone you can get all the information for a song that’s playing on any station, including the lyrics. When there is a song playing that brings back a great memory, you can use the app to tag the song, to remind yourself to include it in a playlist. Shazam Friends, linked via Facebook, lets you and your friends see what you are tagging.” A favourite use for Jennifer is the LyricPlay, especially for long road trips. It’s a fun new feature that provides full-screen lyrics in time to the music.
Myna Audio Editor
“You can access Myna through the Aviary Education portal, and it’s my preferred web tool to use in middle grade,” says Bill Marsland from Stone Scholastic Academy, Chicago, Illinois, US. “It is loaded with an extensive library of Quantum Tracks that students can use to build their own compositions. Myna can be used for lessons on pop-song form as well as musical styles and genres. We recently completed a collaborative project with the Spanish teacher; students wrote bilingual song lyrics and recorded them to a background track they created using Myna. It is free and cloud-based, so students can continue to explore outside of class.”
“Being a fan of free radio while growing up, I was intrigued by Jango Radio,” says Paula [our tech writer] of Island School, Hong Kong. “A quick log in using a Facebook account allows you to create custom stations and maintain a profile. You can search for songs or artists, read their biographies and view picture and video collections. While tuning in to one of the hundreds of Jango-made stations, I was able to pause and play and share my favourite stations to Facebook and Twitter. There are feeds from others listeners including the artists themselves. I listen to Pandora while in the US and Jango overseas; iHeartRadio is also a goodie.”