ERIC Number: EJ950703
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Technology for Teaching
Perez, Frank; Jaworski, Nick; Thibeault, Matthew D.
Music Educators Journal, v98 n2 p39-40 Dec 2011
In this article, the authors review Band-in-a-Box (BIAB), 2011.5 Mac Version and Audacity, a free and open-source software. Music educators at all grade levels can appreciate having a time-saving program to help them provide students with the practice tools they need. BIAB can do that, and it is easy to use. Its primary focus and strength is in generating a high-quality rhythm section accompaniment (piano, bass, drums, guitar) that students can use as practice and performance tools. In just a few minutes, one can enter the chord names into the program (e.g., C-F[superscript 7]-B-flat), select a style (jazz, pop, classical, etc.), tempo, and instruments and have BIAB automatically generate a custom accompaniment for students to use. Jazz students can use BIAB to practice their solos by creating an accompaniment of chord changes in a big band chart--or even a full-length accompaniment for a tune from a fake book. BIAB can also generate its own improvised solos in various styles (such as that of Charlie Parker) that students can study and use as models. Bass and drum-set musicians can choose to "mute" the bass or drums so they, too, can practice creating their own bass lines and grooves. BIAB can also show the notation for each part so students can read and follow along. Audacity, a powerful multitrack audio editing program essential to music educators and students, is an example of how far free software has come. It is open source (harnessing contributions from many that are shared back to the world), cross-platform (Windows, Apple, and Linux versions), and completely free. Like other multitrack editing programs, Audacity gives users the ability to record sound, mix tracks, pan in stereo, add dozens of effects such as reverb, and then export the final product for sharing. Students will enjoy experimenting with effects that traffic in artificiality: shifting pitch, reversing audio, distortion, etc. Jazz and popular musician's transcription efforts can be aided through Audacity's ability to stretch time while maintaining pitch. As a drawback, effects are not rendered in real time, which makes exploration a more time-consuming process than with most paid software.
Descriptors: Music Education, Music, Educational Technology, Open Source Technology, Computer Software Reviews, Technology Uses in Education, Instructional Materials, Instructional Material Evaluation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A