Jessica Vas introduces the free Digital Audio Workstation from BandLab
As music educators, it’s become clear that music production is becoming a stronger part of music curriculums worldwide, and that music production has the potential to engage more students than ever before.
BandLab for Education offers one such solution for music teachers to engage students and maximise learning outcomes, being a free and secure music creation platform built for schools.
Interested educators can use BandLab for Education free of charge by accessing edu.bandlab.com Here are five practical tips for teachers who want to get started on the platform.
Use Google Connectivity
It’s easy to sign up for BandLab for Education.
BandLab for Education works best with Chrome and Chromebooks, so educators and their students simply need to type edu.bandlab.com into the Chrome browser to begin creating an account.
- There are two separate streams, for teachers and students, so make sure that students are signing up with the correct user flow.
In this process, teachers and students alike can connect their Google Classrooms (GC) if they’re already using them. This allows you to unlock features such as sharing assignments, inviting students from GC into a BandLab class, and importing a class from GC to BandLab for Education. BandLab for Education will be adding more GC integrations in future, so keep a look out for the updates.
Set up your school and classrooms
The BandLab for Education teachers’ interface allows educators to navigate their classes and assignments easily. The flow goes from school level to classroom level, and assignments that students can work on.
- Encourage your students to sign in with a recognisable username (e.g. ArthurL rather than ukuelelegod261) so that classroom management becomes easier in the long run! There’s nothing like a messy classroom to cause more unnecessary stress.
Encourage students to play and create!
With summer break on the horizon for many schools, it’s a great time to ease new students into the process of music creation, or encourage more regular musicians to brush up their skills over the school holidays. Try getting students to create ‘Personal Projects’ in their accounts to share with each other over the summer holiday period. There are a multitude of exercises you can try here, check out Katie Wardrobe/Midnight Music’s free lesson resources for inspiration.
- Why not encourage students to incorporate the music creation process with things they’re hearing or experiencing over the summer? For example, asking for a written response to a piece of music from a summer blockbuster, experimenting with time signatures and remixing of top summer hits, or even sound sampling from the outside world. The mobile version of BandLab for Education makes it even easier for students to capture creative ideas on the move, so the world’s their oyster!
Get students to collaborate
If students are extra keen, get them to work on a group assignment. Group assignments on BandLab for Education work like a ‘pass the baton’, where students are virtually logged in at the same time and take turns working on the track. Students not ‘holding the baton’ can see live edits being made. You could consider creating a sandbox or test assignment for them to try working together.
Create a gallery of their work
Whatever content you create on BandLab for Education is yours to keep. You and your students can download compositions out of the Mix Editor by hovering over ‘File’ and hitting the ‘Download’ button, which brings up options to download stems of songs, or whole compositions in a .mp3 or .wav format.
- Why not create a bandcamp page for your students, or post the songs on your school intranet?
- And there’s still something to be said about doing things the old school way: running a student showcase at the end of year assembly, or the first session back as an incentive to complete summer assignments.
- Consider involving the other performing arts departments too – interdisciplinary is the buzzword after all. One example of this might be using drawings or media from the Art department as a creative prompt for students to deliver a collaborative sound and visual project.
BandLab for Education offers high quality tech that’s intuitive and enjoyable to use. Get started on edu.bandlab.com today, and let us know in the comments what you think.
About the author
Jessica Vas, Community & Outreach, BandLab for Education
Jess is part of the Community & Outreach team at BandLab for Education, the free to use music production platform. Her role includes working with teachers across more than a dozen countries to help them get the most out of the BandLab for Education platform.