Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Using iOS GarageBand with 4th Graders Discovering Poetry

Our district is integrating iPads for all grade levels, and I have the good fortune of teaming up with one of our wonderful 4th grade teachers in using iPads to bring poetry to life!

The following is a basic tutorial for the concepts we will be using in the unit.

Getting Started with GarageBand on the iPad

When the program opens, it will create a new song, and take you to the instrument choosing screen. To select different instruments, swipe across the screen horizontally in either direction.

I recommend starting with SMART GUITAR.

When Smart Guitar opens, you can see several different chords in tabs across the front of a picture of a guitar.  The strings are interactive. You can play individual strings, strum across all six, or even bend the strings!

Touching the letter names of the chord plays full chord.  

The circular dial above the Bb is the "auto play" dial.  Setting the dial at either 1, 2, 3 or 4 and then touching one of the chord tabs starts a strumming or picking pattern that is repeated. It will keep playing until you touch the same chord again to stop.  You can easily change chords while auto play is going -- it is a very cool way to get an idea of what different song styles would sound like.

Before we start to record, there are some settings we have to change!

1st- We need to turn the metronome off.

To turn the metronome off, touch the WRENCH icon, and you will see the menu pictured.  In that menu, touch the blue and white area next to Metronome that show it as ON. When you touch that, it will slide to the left and turn gray, which indicates that it is off.

Next we need to adjust how long GarageBand will record for.  It automatically starts with 8 measure sections. It is easy to change, and best to do it before we do any recording.

In the top right hand corner, you will see a plus sign.  Tap the plus sign and you will see this menu.

Tap on the words SECTION A  and you will see:

Touch the grayed out toggle next to Automatic and you will see:

Which is what we want.  We have told GarageBand to keep recording until we tell it to stop.

Now --- for RECORDING!!

To record the cool sounds that you have created, simply touch the red circle at the top, and wait for the count in, and start playing. 

Make sure that the cursor (small tab that follows the music along the measure indicator) is where you want it to be before you hit record, or you may end up recording over something that you already recorded.

When you are finished recording, simply press the stop button. (The white square -- it only shows up during recording or playback.)

Now -- let's add another instrument!

To the left of the playback controls, you can see two buttons.  One that looks like a guitar, and is blue, and a tab with a bunch of lines.   The guitar is blue, because we are using the guitar right now.

Touch the tab with the lines and you will see:

This is the TRACK VIEW.

To add another instrument, click on the plus sign in the bottom left hand corner.  It will bring you to the instrument selection screen. Swipe across the screen until you find the microphone, for the audio recorder. This is what we will use to capture the student reading their poems.

When you select the microphone, this is the the screen you will see:

Start and stop the recording in the same way you did with the smart guitar.  This time, when you tap record, the guitar music you recorded will play in the background.

When you are finished recording, press stop again, and then tap the TRACK button -- the one next to the blue microphone.

Now you can see that your song has a guitar track, and your vocal track.

If either the guitar or voice are too loud, tap on the picture of the instrument you want to adjust the volume of, and then click on the "mixer" button.  (It is between the loop and the wrench.)

In this menu, you can adjust the track volume, or how loud the selected track (or instrument) is.

When you are finished with your recording, click on "My Songs" in the upper left hand corner.  It will save the project, and bring you back to the screen where all of your projects are.

Garageband doesn't force you to choose a name for your project right away -- it creates a temporary title "My Song #."  To change the title of the song, simply TAP AND HOLD the current title of the song until a keyboard pops up giving you the chance to create a new title for the song.

Next time we will discuss how to get these creations into iMovie, to create a movie using the students music to accompany pictures of the students artwork.

This is fun and exciting!

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