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Music Software Choice - 'Making Waves'

Discussion in 'Music' started by eztech, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. I?m posting this in response to interest under the DANCE EJAY topic
    I?ve probably written too much for most people to bother with, but if you are looking for a way to deliver music using ICT or a simple solution to delivering music technology it may well be here.


    Why I recommend Making Waves

    In short:
    The software is simple and engaging for the beginner (using loops) while offering midi sequencing, audio recording, effects and advanced functions for students to progress through.
    The cost is unbelievably low, yet covers multiple installations and free versions for all students.
    http://www.musicforschools.net/



    In detail:


    Choice
    There are numerous very good pieces of music software on the market, and many of these would be suitable for use within the music curriculum. Reasons for a particular choice will vary, often this will related to personal experience (or lack of it) or sometimes after consulting an ?expert? who doesn?t necessarily have experience working with Young People.

    I have used Sony Acid extensively over the past eight years, with a community music project that successfully engaged thousands of Young People. We also used Propellerheads Reason for more advanced work. I love these programs and the way they work, however they are costly for multiple installations in a classroom.

    Cost example:
    The version of Acid that also has usable midi sequencing costs around £139 (educational price for 1 copy). So, for a room with 15 PCs this comes to £2085. If all students in our year 9 wanted their own copy (for use at home) this would come to around £29190. In comparison - Making Waves offers all this and more for its annual licence fee of £100 (£150 for the first year)


    Additional benefits

    Ease of use is very important, both for students and teachers. The basic loop based functions of the software can be picked up within minutes, giving instant results within the first lesson. This engages students and gives a fast route to success, a positive sense of achievement.

    Then, once students are confident with the basics ? more advanced functions can be explored. This goes right up to the kind of multi track recording and midi sequencing expected at AS level.

    Students don?t need to transfer skills or start from scratch with different pieces of software ? everything* can be done within Making Waves. So progressive work can take place at an accelerated rate.
    *(exceptions at bottom of message)

    The software can be used to deliver many aspects of the music curriculum. For example World Music projects, this could include: using samples of any instrument for composition e.g. Sitar or Gamelan. Drum samples can also be used to explore rhythms from around the world. Fusion projects could experiment with mixing diverse musical styles and sounds in composition. Etc, etc . . .

    Support and Teaching Resources

    Software is only as good as the use to which it is put. This use is currently dependent on the individual creative skill of the teacher across an ever growing range of musical genres. Students? taste in music can be used to engage them, yet the available training may not have fully equipped you for this.

    As a solution ? a shared resource is being developed. Here you may pick up files that can be used straight away in lessons (or customised to your students? needs), share ideas and develop a workable approach to delivering an ?up to date? music curriculum. Yet, because this will be quick and simple ? the whole process would not be at the expense of your valuable traditional work, including our Western Classical heritage.

    The shared resource could also be tapped by students, and work done in school or at home using the free student version that comes with the package.

    Shared files would require a shared choice of software. This could be any one of the leading big brands, but I can not find one with a deal anything like the Making Waves package. Additionally, the company are very approachable and already adopt a similar vision.


    A couple of notes (possible objections)

    The current version of the software appears to only cover a 4/4 time signature (as appropriate for contemporary popular styles)
    Yes, however the bars can be simply divided into many note lengths including triplets. Midi files with other time signatures can be opened for production (using sounds, synths and effects etc. Notes can also be offset by minuscule values for a more natural performance feel.

    There is no staff notation.
    The software uses piano roll style sequencing, in common with most professional music production software. You can export midi files to open in Sibelius (and vice-versa).



    I hope this helps, a link to the website is near the top of this message.


     
  2. I?m posting this in response to interest under the DANCE EJAY topic
    I?ve probably written too much for most people to bother with, but if you are looking for a way to deliver music using ICT or a simple solution to delivering music technology it may well be here.


    Why I recommend Making Waves

    In short:
    The software is simple and engaging for the beginner (using loops) while offering midi sequencing, audio recording, effects and advanced functions for students to progress through.
    The cost is unbelievably low, yet covers multiple installations and free versions for all students.
    http://www.musicforschools.net/



    In detail:


    Choice
    There are numerous very good pieces of music software on the market, and many of these would be suitable for use within the music curriculum. Reasons for a particular choice will vary, often this will related to personal experience (or lack of it) or sometimes after consulting an ?expert? who doesn?t necessarily have experience working with Young People.

    I have used Sony Acid extensively over the past eight years, with a community music project that successfully engaged thousands of Young People. We also used Propellerheads Reason for more advanced work. I love these programs and the way they work, however they are costly for multiple installations in a classroom.

    Cost example:
    The version of Acid that also has usable midi sequencing costs around £139 (educational price for 1 copy). So, for a room with 15 PCs this comes to £2085. If all students in our year 9 wanted their own copy (for use at home) this would come to around £29190. In comparison - Making Waves offers all this and more for its annual licence fee of £100 (£150 for the first year)


    Additional benefits

    Ease of use is very important, both for students and teachers. The basic loop based functions of the software can be picked up within minutes, giving instant results within the first lesson. This engages students and gives a fast route to success, a positive sense of achievement.

    Then, once students are confident with the basics ? more advanced functions can be explored. This goes right up to the kind of multi track recording and midi sequencing expected at AS level.

    Students don?t need to transfer skills or start from scratch with different pieces of software ? everything* can be done within Making Waves. So progressive work can take place at an accelerated rate.
    *(exceptions at bottom of message)

    The software can be used to deliver many aspects of the music curriculum. For example World Music projects, this could include: using samples of any instrument for composition e.g. Sitar or Gamelan. Drum samples can also be used to explore rhythms from around the world. Fusion projects could experiment with mixing diverse musical styles and sounds in composition. Etc, etc . . .

    Support and Teaching Resources

    Software is only as good as the use to which it is put. This use is currently dependent on the individual creative skill of the teacher across an ever growing range of musical genres. Students? taste in music can be used to engage them, yet the available training may not have fully equipped you for this.

    As a solution ? a shared resource is being developed. Here you may pick up files that can be used straight away in lessons (or customised to your students? needs), share ideas and develop a workable approach to delivering an ?up to date? music curriculum. Yet, because this will be quick and simple ? the whole process would not be at the expense of your valuable traditional work, including our Western Classical heritage.

    The shared resource could also be tapped by students, and work done in school or at home using the free student version that comes with the package.

    Shared files would require a shared choice of software. This could be any one of the leading big brands, but I can not find one with a deal anything like the Making Waves package. Additionally, the company are very approachable and already adopt a similar vision.


    A couple of notes (possible objections)

    The current version of the software appears to only cover a 4/4 time signature (as appropriate for contemporary popular styles)
    Yes, however the bars can be simply divided into many note lengths including triplets. Midi files with other time signatures can be opened for production (using sounds, synths and effects etc. Notes can also be offset by minuscule values for a more natural performance feel.

    There is no staff notation.
    The software uses piano roll style sequencing, in common with most professional music production software. You can export midi files to open in Sibelius (and vice-versa).



    I hope this helps, a link to the website is near the top of this message.


     
  3. I've only just seen this - thanks very much for all the info, it's fantastic.

    I've downloaded the trial version and I'm in the process of looking at it.

    Jenny
     
  4. More good stuff

    I installed the software on our main server ? which was a trouble-free process.
    This means that the software can be used on virtually any networked PC or laptop in the school (without the need for extra serial codes etc). This may be of interest if you have limited resources, but can access an IT room. All the resources (loops, samples, VSTi and tutorials) are stored on the network?s shared drive ? so these can be accessed too.

    ~

    Loop based work gets better as you build up a large collection of loops (more choice). As a start - I recommend the relatively cheap collection available from http://www.makingwavesaudio.com/prodidividual.asp?manufac...
    (As a ?Music for Schools? user you may get an even better deal than the price shown ? just talk to the Making Waves team)
     
  5. this looks great. i have been looking for a computer program that doesn't cost too much and i can use with my g & t's. it looks easy to use.
    thanks for your comprehensive review.
     
  6. trelassick

    trelassick New commenter

    Garageband is part of the built-in software with every Mac. Worth its weight in gold.
     
  7. +1 for garage band and macs...(and the logic multisite licence is great)

    however - for PC'ers You could also have a look at reaper http://www.reaper.fm/ which has caused a storm in the tech audio community - is very much like Cubase etc and is a "proper" DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) - Quite complicated - but very good for G&T/Btec/GCSE Popular music/A-Level....and no license restrictions and shareware - very cheap per license and you download the whole shebang which is FULLY Functional without paying anything at first!!

    Reason by Propellerheads is also great -http://www.propellerheads.se/ and they have a free 12 lesson plan, with examples of work to "fiddle" with.

    Just some higher end examples....
     
  8. Hi EZTech - I have had MakingWaves installed in our music classroom.
    Had been using garageband and needed to change to a windows based environment due to IT changes at school. I wanted a software as close to garageband as i could find as i found the loops browser fantastic for "building" compositions using the ready made loops.
    We have had some issues with our IT technicians and its installation, which i dont need to go into but hasnt made it as easy to use as i would have liked!
    Could you give a quick "how to" with regard to using the ready made loops to build a song?
     

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