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Recording Audio on your Computer

by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

Well, it officially looks like winter now, so you might as well hunker down and try your hand at recording audio with your students.  One way or another, we're all in the auditory skills business so we should use auditory material as a primary teaching technique. For instance,  as a percussion lesson instructor I'd like to think that my verbal characterizations of student playing are so eloquent that my students immediately comprehend the auditory issue and then fix it.  But having the students listen to a recording of their own playing and then characterize it is probably more effective. I can't tell you how many times I've told a student that they are rushing the tempo and then think to myself "have I taught them what rushing sounds like?"

I've been using Garage Band and Audacity over the past several years to make high quality recordings of student performances, practice materials, and for in-lesson reflections.  Most often I use Audacity as a auditory scratch pad, that is I record a student performing lesson materials, we analyze it, critique it, and then delete it before the lesson is over.  If it is something useful, I'll attach it to their Evernote notebook for future use.

Below is a video I made about basic recording using Audacity, a software program that is available on all computers at MacPhail.  If you've had success or failure using Audacity at work, make sure to leave a comment below. I bet some of the Lab Techs would be thrilled to help you out.


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I really like the idea of doing this within the lesson because there are so many benefits. Sometimes I've struggled with taking too much lesson time to open the recording software, saving files, etc.

Besides having the software up and running prior to the lesson, I'm interested in learning how to minimize time spent on the technology itself within the lesson, which can feel cumbersome, and make me feel disconnected from the student. Looking for tips from other teachers...



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