A great class yesterday. The topic is Blues music, specifically 12 bar blues. Keeping it simple, we’d already individually created a 5 track GarageBand song; guitar , bass, organ ( using blues minor scale setting) rock drums for the fill in bar 12 and the cymbal crash in bar 1, and smart drums for the rest. This was so much better than trying to get each student to learn basic triadic chords on keyboards. While it has its place, the acquisition of keyboard skills in a 35 minute weekly group lesson is unlikely. The sense of achievement for a ‘less experienced’ music student at completing a 12 bar tracked recording is far, far greater. Not only have they managed to input the correct chords, improvise above it and understand drum principles, they have also managed to mix levels and to structure a song.
Yesterday was a great experience. With one class group we used the Jam facility in GarageBand. While there were initial Bluetooth teething difficulties, the kids grasped the concept quickly, took an instrument each and tried to record a 12 bar blues pattern, playing in time with each other.
Using the alesis io dock it s easy to add live guitar or keyboard, or even drums by mic. The potential to allow the more advanced musicians to plug their instrument directly in is another huge advantage. Yesterday, we only had one ‘live’ guitarist using a griffin adapter. The performance experience is just another facet of classroom music enhanced by the iPad. We ‘ll get 176 12 year olds doing it next week.