Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

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Aftertrace
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Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby Aftertrace » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:58 pm

Dear everyone,

I’m pleased to join this forum. My name is James Humberstone. I’m a composer and senior lecturer in music education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, in Australia. If you’re interested in innovative music pedagogies you may have heard of my MOOC, “The Place of Music in 21st Century Education”, on Coursera.

Anyway, my summer hobby-project is to try to upcycle some old PCs around my house and to develop a station for 4 or 5 students to make digital music together. In my courses I’ve been doing this for a few years with the many apps that support Ableton Link, and before that used to use tonnes of MIDI controllers (inc. wireless ones) on a single Ableton session. Of course, many schools can’t afford expensive devices, and as we know, music education remains hugely irrelevant to most children even though all of those same children say music is one of the most important parts of their developing adult identities.

So. Build a station where kids can create, improvise, and perform electronic music together, with a very minimal cost. And a great excuse to get into the Linux world and discover what music software runs fast on decade-old PCs!

While I’d love any comments/feedback on this idea now, I’m not asking questions YET here because I know I need to do a lot of reading first. I’m looking at Jack-MIDI for syncing between PCs, and probably some peer-to-peer network to save buying a hub, although wifi isn’t off the table. At some point I’ll also be trying to build a cheap mixer, because I need students to be able to control how much they can hear of what they’re doing and how much of the others in the mix, as they’re working. Perhaps I’ll be dusting off the soldering iron for that as spending (much) money on mixers won’t be an option!

Anyway, that’s me. Thanks for allowing me to join this group!

J

tavasti
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Re: Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby tavasti » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:43 pm

Aftertrace wrote:Build a station where kids can create, improvise, and perform electronic music together, with a very minimal cost.


Sounds interesting and important project, good luck with it!

Aftertrace wrote:At some point I’ll also be trying to build a cheap mixer, because I need students to be able to control how much they can hear of what they’re doing and how much of the others in the mix, as they’re working. Perhaps I’ll be dusting off the soldering iron for that as spending (much) money on mixers won’t be an option!

I don't think you need to build anything, all mixing can be done in software. Or then I have misunderstood something...
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Musicteacher
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Re: Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby Musicteacher » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:31 pm

Hi,
I also think that you won't need a mixer.

As my name says, I'm a music teacher. The whole field of music education + computers is very interesting and has lots of possibilities.

The critical aspect of hardware is the audio-interface, because those are not standard-gear.

I have used computers for teaching students how to arrange (I used Muse Score for that). I have given Computer + Audio Interface to let them record something.

I let students use Software for ear-training (Gnu Solfege).

However, students playing on virtual instruments, recording, mixing, setting up audio hardware, that is way more complex.

So at first, your task is a technical one. After that, it's a pedagogical one, and the latter is harder.

We make plans for a 1:1 program with linux-notebooks for every student. If this is done, I will ask my principal if I may buy a set of usb-audio-interfaces. Then you can do some recording and stuff at school with the students hardware, and if they like it and pick it up as a hobby, they can buy their own interface.

Good luck, interesting thread!

tavasti
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Re: Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby tavasti » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:11 pm

Musicteacher wrote:The critical aspect of hardware is the audio-interface, because those are not standard-gear.

External audio interface is needed only for recording real instrumens or singing. For pure electronic music, no need for extra hw.
Linux veteran & Novice musician

Hear my music at https://audiu.net/users/tawaste

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khz
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Re: Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby khz » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:15 pm

FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

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khz
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Re: Digital jamming for music education on upcycled PCs

Postby khz » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:21 pm

QmidiNet is a MIDI network gateway application that sends and receives MIDI data (ALSA Sequencer and/or JACK MIDI) over the network [...] >> https://qmidinet.sourceforge.io/
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.


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