Friday, January 8, 2010

Creating Music: Mixcraft 4 in schools

Screenshot Mixcraft 4Looking for an amazing, inexpensive, creative music composition software that rivals (and beats) GarageBand?  If so then test drive Mixcraft 4.

As our district has gradually converted to the Windows platform, we have been looking for a replacement to the much loved GarageBand.  Our initial focus has been at the middle school where students have an amazing opportunity to have music instruction as one of their exploration courses.  Obviously, most of the music exploration is done in the music room yet a trip to the computer lab with Mixcraft installed can augment music studies by allowing student to creatively compose, edit and share songs.

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There are hundreds of music loops in a variety of music styles.  When I visited the middle school in our district where the students had been introduced to Mixcraft after just one week of 40 minute periods, they were already proficient at using the software.  The software is geared toward novice users.  I could see elementary students grade 3 and up making great use of Mixcraft.

The computers where Mixcraft is installed are three year-old refurbished Dell’s. The software ran very quickly without any crashes.  The students treated my auditory senses to a wide-array of music styles from orchestral vocals to pop to heavy metal.  The girl who had made the heavy metal song did it because her dad loves metal and “it has grown on me when I listen in the car.”

While this school hasn’t yet explored this functionality, there is the feature of connecting a MIDI keyboard, guitar or microphone.

Taking the Software Home

There is an arrangement where student who really gravitate towards music composition can purchase a home version at a reduced cost.

Teacher Resource Kit

To get stared as a teacher, be sure it request a copy of the teacher workbook Mixcraft 4 For the Classroom.  It is a visual guide that walks the teacher through a number of strategies and student activities.  The teacher also got a licensed copy to install at home as we know that this is where most teachers prepare lessons.

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With the purchase, there is also a free upgrade to Mixcraft 5 when it is released.  The representative that I’ve been working with from Acoustica is David Raimondo.

Bias

In case you were wondering about bias in this blog, I was not remunerated in anyway for this post.  I’m just an educator looking for educational technology that provides good value to schools that enhance student learning and engagement.

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