Today was my first lesson in my new iPad Rock Star Boot Camp that I am doing with the 4th and 5th graders at my elementary school. The funny things is that I know nothing about music -- just to prove that anyone can really rock the iPad if they know a few tricks. So here are the things that we covered today.
Introduction: I explained to my students that they did not need to know music theory -- a collective smile grew across their faces. I then explained that they did not need to know how to play an instrument or even be able to sing, most of that we can fix with the iPad.
Step One: Find the right song. The right song is not necessarily your favorite song that you have been dying to record. I take the students to www.musicnotes.com and then we start to search for sheet music of their favorite songs. The sheet music pops up and I tell them how I always look for a song with just a few chords per bar (or measure). Remember, I know nothing about music theory, but there are some things I had to learn about. The fewer chords the better, one chord per bar is great. So after I shoot down of few of their songs I show them the song that we are going to be playing for the boot camp; The Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, two chords per bar and most of the song uses the same four chords over and over again -- perfect for young rockers and their iPads. I paid the $5.75 for the sheet music and ran off a copy for each student.
Step Two: Find what key the song is in. Lucky for me www.musicnotes.com shows on the sidebar the key that the original song was recorded in. I don't know what the heck a song key is, I just know that I can't play songs in GarageBand on the iPad without knowing it. Boulevard of Broken Dreams is in the key of F-minor.
Step Three: Break down the song into sections. I have a worksheet that allows us to break the song down from sheet music into individual sections and then we count how many bars are in each section. Sections are what GarageBand needs to make a song. For example Section A is the Intro and it is 4 bars, Section B is Verse 1 and is 14 bars. You will need this for the next step.
Step Four: Record the Sections of the Song. So I have them start up GarageBand on their iPads, then we start a new song, we then set the key to F-Minor, and then we had to edit one of the chords with the Chord Editor, so that it matched the original song. We kept the tempo and the time signature set at the default. I had them set the section length for Section A to 4 bars. We were using the Smart Acoustic Guitar. So after practicing a few times, they each put on their headphones and recorded the chords for the intro, and then on to making Section B: Verse 1. After about an hour we had the beginnings of a rock song.
Next week we will continue our recordings and get ready to add vocals. Stay tuned...
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School