Musical Mashups and Radiohead

Thom Yorke

Since the start of my life as a high school Music teacher five years ago, I’ve been steadily exploring the potential of multi-track recording (recording, editing and mixing audio files) in the classroom. It’s amazing to note how technology has really made this accessible in recent years. What was formerly the domain of cashed up producers and musicians mortgaged to the eyeballs is now in the reach of anyone with a computer, microphone, pair of headphones and freeware program like Audacity. It’s also interesting to read and hear about non-Music teachers who are using multi-track recording to create radio-plays, advertisements and other interesting audio podcasts. Still, what’s got my attention in this exciting and unpredictable world of web 2.0 is the “mash-up” potential of what we create. In multimedia circles, this might mean creating a piece of music incorporating midi material from the wonderfully free and ever improving Finale Notepad in an Audacity project. The resulting mix-down might be imported into iMovie or Moviemaker, along with an animation from humble but effective programs like Monkeyjam (for stop-motion animation using a webcam and anything from plasticine to Barbie dolls) or Pivot Stick Animator.

What’s really exciting for me as a Music teacher, is British band Radiohead’s recent decision (read the BBC article) to release their second single “Nude” as a series of individual instrument tracks with accompanying project files for Garage Band and Logic. What an incredible creative decision – to share the composition process with one’s fans!

Lucky for me – I’m a devoted fan and have quite a few Music students in my classes who are like-minded. We’re going to have fun next term!

Watch this space!

About Michael

Cellist, singer/songwriter, school teacher, nerd, recent scooter enthusiast and failed philosopher.
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