Creating Classroom Sounds

The use of iPad in my classroom has opened up many new opportunities for my students to create in many different ways. In my music lessons we use GarageBand app to compose and perform as well as creating video for evidence and reflection. I am always trying to find new and innovative ways to enhance learning in music.

I follow a video creator on Twitter and he recently started to post short music videos which are created using sounds from everyday objects and environments. He calls the videos ‘Seeing Sounds’. He is an outstanding editor and these videos influenced me to have a go myself and then think about how this can be used in the classroom. Being a musician and having an interest in video editing, Dan Mace’s videos inspired me to give this a go with my students.

After watching Dan’s video and the seed being planted in my head, one evening I closed my fridge door to discover that it sounded like a bass drum. So there and then I balanced my iPhone on the kitchen counter, rummaged through the draws and fridge for items that make sounds and then filmed myself.  I took the short video clips and focusing on the parts that made sound, I edited and trimmed them so that had had lots of video and audio samples to start constructing my own ‘Seeing Sounds’ video.

After uploading the finished video to Twitter, it had a fantastic response and this made me think about how I could introduce this as a classroom activity using the iPad.

I wanted to introduce the idea to my students, so I edited another video of myself playing multiple musical instruments at the same time. This was a great way to hook the students into the lesson. It was also enjoyed by other members of staff from St Cyres School who all wanted to get involved and make their own subject video.

I created a video with our PE Teacher Chris Hall, art teacher ADE Laura Hilltout and also DT department with ADE Damian Parker. Due to the quick rhythms and complexity of matching the sounds to the video, I used Final Cut Pro on my MacBook as its’ my go to video editor and was easier and quicker than using iMovie on iPad. However, I wanted to be able to do this in iMovie, so that my students could create a #ClassroomSounds video using their iPad.

The videos were enjoyed by the Twitter community and also influenced ADE Chris Wood from Portsmouth College to give it a go with his music technology students. I was really chuffed and impressed with their creations and they were very well edited together.

Now that I had videos to show my class, I wanted them to start creating their own using iMovie. This was used as an end of year composition task. Using iMovie was a little more complex as the students are unable to multi track lots of different clips on top of each other. Therefore they had to carefully plan and choose their clips, which actually helped develop their editing skills a lot more than just being able to easily drag and drop.

This has proved to be a very engaging classroom activity that is perfect for music composition lessons. It would also be a great task for any subject as they can take resources and ideas from a topic and create a themed video. The challenging task has developed many skills such as numeracy (timing and accurately editing the clips), working with others, organisation, confidence, digital skills and learning how to used iMovie for complex editing.

The students really enjoyed taking part and I totally recommend you have a go. Please take a look at #ClassroomSounds on Twitter and if you do create any videos please share the creations using the hashtag. For more information or if you’d like any help you can find me on Twitter @HopkinTeach.

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