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Showcasing Student Compositions with SoundCloud

May 23, 2013

by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

This year at MacPhail's New City School partnership, students in grades 6-8 composed music for solo instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet, and piano.  Students composed the pieces using MuseScore and sent them to professional and student musicians, who performed the pieces and sent back audio recordings.  The performers included MacPhail faculty: Josh Cameron, Teresa Campbell, Hanno Strydom, and Jeremy Hanson; middle school band students of Troy Strand from Paideia Academy; and local new music group Renegade Ensemble.   

I would play the recordings for the students and then we'd discuss what they thought was effective and what needed changing in the pieces.  But beyond that initial listening, how were students going to have access to the recordings so they could play them for family members and friends?  Burning a CD for each student or emailing the mp3s home would be time consuming and inflexible. What if we wanted to add another track? We'd have to re-burn the CD or slog through the Outlook web client looking for email addresses again. 

The solution was Sound Cloud: a website that hosts up to two hours of audio for free. You upload music from your computer and then share it via links or embedding.  For instance, here is an embedded song from New City's spring concert:

SoundCloud allows you to mark your music as private or public. I marked all the New City compositions as private and then shared the "secret link" SoundCloud generates with parents by including it on the end of year progress reports.  Parents follow the link and end up here:

They can listen to all the different compositions and the the music still remains private. There is also a slick iPad app that allows you to listen to your tracks, upload new recordings, and even record new ones with the iPad mic.   

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I'm going to try this! I had no idea that recorders could be used so creatively. =)



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