Tag Archives: Band in a Box

What if Mozart had MIDI?

After a professional development session this week, I was talking to one of our music teachers who does an excellent job of integrating technology into the regular band and vocal music course offerings. Classroom uses embrace composition, arranging, recording, sequencing, accompanying and theory instruction. Software packages used included packages for both Mac and Windows – Finale, Band in a Box, Garage Band and Sequel. This spun off into a conversation reminiscing about the ‘old days’ – meaning before MIDI, sound samples, loops, powerful notation software etc.

I told him about the WX5 MIDI wind instrument I had been playing over the summer (reaction = wow), he told me about new professional level sound samples he is using for some scoring work he is doing – cool.

As a technology user, it is easy to look at something as the next logical step of development. So yes, maybe a ‘cool’ factor to a new device or sound. Lets pause for a moment and step back. The changes in this technology area in the last dozen years is absolutely phenomenal = WOW.  Look at what you can do with  home/school level equipment and software. Truly amazing.

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Pictured above, are the WX5 MIDI wind instrument, an electric violin and an electric guitar equipped with a pitch to MIDI device.

Think of the impact Bach or Mozart had on the world of music. I wonder what would have happened to music development if this equipment was available in their time or they were alive now. One thing for sure, they would have as much fun with technology as we are!!!

Just wondering ….

~ Mark

Studio Time: Real Time Music Backed with Technology

Saturday night and home with no major agenda. Looks like a good night to get some music time in – and in my favourite way: live music and technology together.

Three Step Plan

1. I bought a book of folk music (jigs, reels etc.) at the Mill Race Festival last weekend. The music is written as melody lines with chord progressions. I will practise a few on the WX5 midi wind controller. My daughter will be learning some too on her electric violin.

2. I will create an accompaniment using Band in a Box. Band in a Box is a great piece of software that allows you to literally create a ‘band’. You create an accompaniment by choosing the following elements:

time signature (4/4, 3/4 6/8 etc.)
tempo (speed of the music)
style (which determines a default instrumentation and ‘feel’ to the music)

Next you enter in the chord progression and create a ‘roadmap’ – the combination of introduction, verses, choruses, repeats and endings. Now you are set to play along with your ‘band’. This leaves you options to practise, perform live, record, make a CD or mp3, or perhaps include your results in an electronic portfolio of some sort.

3. This is all leading to preparing for CATC by the Water, our summer computer camp for staff where the focus is technology integration. Our 4 day event begins mid next week, and there are always ‘campers’ eager to learn and use music applications in the curriculum.

Links:

Learn more about Band in a Box: PG Music

Licensing for Ontario Schools: OSAPAC

Off to the studio!

~ Mark