Please Briefly Comment: Audacity Assignment

Today, we will have a chance to listen to the completed Audacity assignments, along with the pieces your groups made using GarageBand.

Take a moment to give Adam and I feedback for the Audacity assignment. Specifically, please briefly comment on the following:
1. This assignment aimed to give you experience exploring manipulating recorded sound. Do you feel that you have a better sense of how sound can be heavily manipulated? Is this something that you might do more with in the future, or an assignment you would assign to your own students?
2. What should we spend more time teaching with this assignment? What were the biggest problems in using Audacity? If you have other suggestions for doing an assignment like this differently, please let us know!

Where Did These Sounds Come from?
For those of you who are curious, here’s where the two sounds for the Audacity project originated. Both were recorded the daily assignment was given out using my Samson C10U USB microphone:
1. The percussive sound was none other than my trusty Swingline! I stapled a piece of paper. It actually took about 15 tries to get on that sounded really nice (in part because my office air-conditioning kept coming on, and the custodian was vacuuming around the office area).
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2. Tawnya, one of the doctoral students here, said yes when asked if she would read a headline. I cut out the words “just pretending” from this story from the satirical college paper The Onion (I also have this on the door to my office, which is where she read it from).
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35 Comments on “Please Briefly Comment: Audacity Assignment”

  1. jlaw2 Says:

    I really enjoyed this project because it left alot of decisions to the student, it really helped me understand how sounds are generated and manipulated. I dont think i would change the assignment other than maybe making the provided clips a little longer.

  2. meghann_c Says:

    I definitely feel I have a better sense of how sound can be manipulated, especially by changing the pitch and speed, and using the reverse effect you can make it sound completely different or unrecognisable to the original. I think it would be a useful thing to teach students. I found it hardest to get a good sense of timing and fit the different sounds together to some kind of beat, which I had to do through trial and error, but there may be an easier way to do this that I didn’t know about!

  3. vabaker2 Says:

    I feel this would be a good introduction project for students. The manipulation of sound does give you a better idea of which effect change the sound. I think the biggest issue was creating it into an MP3. Also if you didn’t have mac I feel like I had more problems on my laptop than in the lab. So depending on computers and how coroperative the program is would determine if I would specifically use audacity with my students.

  4. S_Murray Says:

    I don’t exactly feel like I know how to manipulate sound. It is a very complex process, and this project barely even scratched the surface.(in my mind)

    The biggest problems with audacity is learning to manipulate the sound waves themselves… Anyone can go up to the options bar and select an effect to add to the sound wave, but to actually alter the waves and such by ourselves, I think, would have made this project easier.

  5. cjensen2 Says:

    I definitely have a better sense of how to manipulate sound after doing this project. I was aware the the seemingly endless possibilities before, but I didn’t really know how to do things like things myself. I can definitely see myself using this program in the future.

  6. danmorrison Says:

    I feel like I have a much better understanding of how greatly sound can be manipulated. I thought the assignment was interesting and educational. I think that more time should have been devoted to doing the audacity project in class because it seemed like a lot of people had troubles with the program. The trickiest thing for me was realizing that I needed to put the LAME file somewhere and be able to find it when exporting the file as an mp3.

  7. reclark3 Says:

    The project was fun and interesting. With Audacity being free, it is nice to know that we are learning about a program that we can use for classroom purposes as well as our own projects.

  8. Brendan Frank Says:

    I really liked the Audacity assignment. Although I had been using the program for a while, I really liked the way that the project was designed. It really forced you to get creative and really analyze the sound wave that you were looking at to get a specific sound that you had in your head. It was also a lot of fun to explore all of the different effects you could put on the tracks. My only concern with this assignment was that I think that it might be too hard to assign to somebody that was just starting out with Audacity. Maybe think about choosing clips that are a little more manageable to use.

  9. Lauren V. Says:

    I did not realize how much you could manipulate a simple sound, such as a stapler, until I was introduced to Audacity. Our project was only 10 seconds long, but I found myself playing around with all the different functions just to hear how distorted I could make a sound. I don’t know if I would use this program in the classroom, but I would use it personally to help with a presentation or project at some point. It took me a little time to understand what all of the different functions meant and I still don’t know how to use specific adjustments under each function. I felt like a little kid just pressing buttons until I liked a certain sound.

  10. Leslie Goldberg Says:

    I would definitely say that I have a better idea of how easily sound can be heavily manipulated. I would certainly give this as an assignment to my students, because I think it really opened my eyes to an easy to use program that is free to own and can give you a whole new view of music and sound.
    The biggest problem I had with audacity is the same problem I have with Finale, it takes far too many steps to get something simple done. it wastes time.

  11. sgritz2 Says:

    I felt that this was overall a good assignment. I liked audacity, and would assign this to my own students. It was fun having the freedom to mess with sound. I especially liked how you could see the spectrum. The biggest problem was, it was kind of hard to work with as far as effects go. I couldn’t figure out how to use the echo for the life of me. I tried finding a “help” menu or program, but couldn’t. But for the most part, it was kind of self explanatory in a lot of ways, and even young students could easily copy and paste.

  12. kellyfitz Says:

    I really enjoyed working with audacity. I think that it’s very interesting how sound can be so manipulated to sound nothing like itself. I got a stapler to sound like fireworks through editing. It really puts recording into perspective for me, personally. My A Cappella group is recording an album right now, and it makes me conscious of how much editing was done, and how much work I need to do on my own voice to make it sound professional. It also infuriates me that recording artists don’t really sing anymore, which I think takes away from the beauty of singing.
    I think that the most challenging part of using audacity was understanding how to get a certain sound the way you want it. A lot of what I did was by accident, and I found myself wondering what it would sound like if I actually knew how to consciously manipulate the sound…and if what I created could be created on purpose, and NOT by accident.

  13. marielemke Says:

    I thought this was a fun project and something I would like to do with my students if I had a computer lab like this at my disposal. I wish we would have worked on this more in class and gone over the different functions we could do with audacity.

  14. bhillho2 Says:

    I do feel this small assignment helped with manipulating sounds better. I like the thought of this assignment with the random sounds but it also could be used to take a full rock song and chop it up and manipulate it.
    I think that this assignment could be improved by maybe as a class or different groups, use odd sounds and record it in class, and then continue the assignment.

  15. mladror2 Says:

    I liked the assignment. I always knew these things were possible with sound manipulation, but I never thought of doing them ourselves. I didn’t think it would be so easy to use! I had a lot of fun using different effects, and I think it’s a great program to teach to encourage creativity, and give students a better idea of how sound works.

  16. rmelend2 Says:

    I enjoyed working on this project. I found it really interesting manipulating the sound tracks in order to create a musical piece. Since Audacity is free an anyone can download, it would be a great to unitlize this program in the classroom setting. It will broaden students’ horizons on their concept of music. For example, having them manipulate “Mary had a little lamb” or another song they know.

    I feel like this program can be a little troubling (moreso time consuming) when picking teh different track manipulation effects. It’s not clear what sound will be produced. Therefore, a lot of trial and error must occur in order to obtain what the composer desires.

  17. Aaron Says:

    Although I feel like my knowledge of sound manipulation has grown immensely (mostly because I had next to none before), I still feel confused with achieving certain sounds and effects. I had several ideas that I wanted to try to generate, but I didn’t really produce them. I thought if we came up with some sounds of our own, it might be more interesting working with sounds that were the students’ initial creation. Overall, it was a good experience having tight restrictions, because it forced me to try and explore a little more of Audacity’s features.

  18. zgeller2 Says:

    I have a greater sense of how to manipulate sound. While i would like to do this in the future and i will probably make an assignment like this for my music classes, i feel that audacity has a lot more negative aspects to it than positive. I will be much more inclined to do an assignment like this later if I first explore other programs.

    I felt that the assignment was difficult and frustrating because the program was not easy to work with. There were little things, like creating an Echo, that were frustrating because you had to create silence and then drag how long the echo should be. I think if we got a packet or handout with how to do the basics in audacity, it would be better then us having to figure some things out by ourselves. This comes into play especially for those tools that have a lot of parameters and can change the sound in many different ways.

  19. Erica C Says:

    I really really enjoyed this assignment! I thought it was so neat to be able to manipulate sound and be able to make those two little bits my own. I thought it was relatively easy to use once you know where everything is that you are looking for. I feel as though we could have had more time to play around with it just to experience all it had to offer.

  20. dmig2000 Says:

    I really liked this assignment because it let me experiment with the sound in whatever way I wanted. The only thing I would have wanted to do was have a little more class time because I ran into a few problems that I couldn’t figure out on my own. For example, when I would change the tempo of a clip it wouldn’t go to the amount of time that I typed in and it would add extra dead time. I had to try over and over again to get what I wanted. But overall, it was a very good experience.

  21. Jessica C Says:

    I do feel like this asssignment helped me learn how to work with audacity and it helped me learn how to manipulate the sounds. This might be something that I would have students do to find out just how creative they can be.
    The only complaint about the assignment is that I had trouble finishing it on my own computer. I have audacity downloaded but I couldn’t upload the sound file so I could not complete the assignment at home. Because of this I had to come to the computer lab and I couldn’t explore as much as I would have wanted to.

  22. pianostars10487 Says:

    1. I do have a better idea of how sound can be manipulated. Not the greatest knowledge of it, but a good start.
    2. I enjoyed working with audicity. I wish we could have spent more time working on it in class because there were a lot of things I couldn’t figure out on my own in the program. I felt like Audicity was limiting as a program because I couldn’t find an easy way to adjust the tempo at which the sounds were played at.

  23. Nina E. Says:

    I really enjoyed this assignment. I have used audacity in the past mainly for editing mp3 files for ringtones but never have really explored the program until now. This project allowed me to really experiment with many different types of sound manipulation.

  24. Matt O Says:

    I enjoyed the assignment, it was good to get familiar with audacity and experiment with the abilities of the program. I was not necessarily ground breaking as I have used many of the same features for my own private purposes. Audacity did lack some of the features I was accustomed to using, but I found it to be remarkably powerful for free software. I would like to use the software to finalize our own recordings of existing music perhaps a prior composition.

  25. CarmC Says:

    I thought that this assignment was fun and I think that it was a good project to manipulate sound and time. I think that the assignment worked really well at teaching sound and music from a scientific background. I think that something I would have done differently would have been to go over all of the effects I think that if I knew a little better how to do some off the wall effects it might have been more creative. an awesome assignment I would use on my own class would to actually have them record themselves and explore the program and manipulate the sound of there own playing and then have the class guess what sound the student played.

  26. Nick L Says:

    Some of the sound manipulation features I already knew about, and others were totally new to me. Some, like normalizing, I knew what they were but had never had a chance to use them. I will definitely use Audacity in the future (actually one of my group members just used it to help put an audio file in a presentation), and I can totally see myself assigning students something like this. It is a neat depart from normal conventional music wiriting and opens up a whole new world of creative possibility.

    For me the biggest problem with Audacity was absolute time not correlating easily with musical time. That is a drawback to the program and teaching may not necessarily help that so much. However, more emphasis could be placed on teaching which features adjust/alter how much time a sound sample takes up.

  27. geigegirl Says:

    It was very interesting to understand more about how sound can be manipulated. I had fun doing this project although I feel like I never grasped fully how to do the downloading of the different programs because there were so many different ways to do it. I might assign this as a brief project as it is a neat way to make music. This would be a fun way to try another style of music. However, I’m having trouble coming up with a way this could help teach music technics as much of this project was cutting and pasting.
    My biggest problem was lack of confidence in knowing that I was doing the assignment correctly, especially the downloading and submitting part. I enjoyed the chance to try out Audacity and would love to use it again. I learned a lot from having to work mostly independantly, but it was kind of scary.

  28. Rebecca Ryan Says:

    1. I definitely feel that I have a better understanding of how sound can be manipulated. I spent a few hours goofing around with audacity even after my project was finished, and that really made me realize just how much you can change a sound to be something much different than it originally was. Personally, I would not teach this assignment with the freedom we had – I would probably structure the assignment a bit more, taking more time to get the students familiar with the program, let them take pieces of sounds from their own lives, get them approved and have them use those sounds to make a 10-second mp3.
    2. I think more time with the program period would have helped. I had a total of 10 minutes to work on this project in class, which was frustrating because I could not ask for one-on-one help when I most needed it. Email can only do so much. I think this program holds as much potential as the sibelius project did, and with a greater amount of time, could really produce some awesome results. One was to do this would be group work, like with garageband, perhaps watching a movie clip and making our own soundtrack for it from weird noises encountered in the movie.

  29. jimmcguire Says:

    I have a better understanding on how sound is heavily manipulated, but wish that we had more time to spend on the assignment. I know that there are obviously so many different kinds of software that we need to be exposed to within this class, but I felt rushed with this particular project. I might have also spent more time focusing on the different types of things that the software allowed us to alter the tracks with. When on my own, it felt a bit overwhelming to have all those options at my disposal with the little knowledge that I had of them.

  30. Jacob Gross Says:

    I feel I do have a better understanding of how to manipulate sound. Some of the filters had more complex options I didn’t understand, but I could hear the basic sound change. I would like to use this in the future somehow, if only just to play around with sound. It would also be fun to assign work using audacity, I’d just have to come up with something relevant. I think maybe more time could be devoed to explaining what certain tools in audacity do. For example, take a couple of the more complex tools and show what and how they modify sound.

  31. sara_m Says:

    I enjoyed the assignment, even though I wasn’t extremely happy with my finished product. But I thought the program was very interesting. I really learned from seeing the overtones and seeing different ways of looking at music besides standard notation. If I had music technology at my school, I would definitely assign the students a project using Audacity. It would be helpful to spend a little bit more time exploring the program as a class.

  32. jmrush2 Says:

    What I like about this program is that you can completely change the sound you’re playing with. Students that aren’t familiar with music notation can create a masterpiece with Audacity. As we heard the other day, our little 10 second creations were all completely different, even though we started with the exact same material. There were a lot of “oooh”s and “aaah”s being tossed around the room, because we like to hear how classmates can translate their ideas to the technology.
    This might be a project I assign with a technology class, if I teach one. I like the idea of experimentation, and this program is perfect for it.
    I would have liked to learn a little more about what can be done with Audacity if we had more time. Also, there are certain things that freeze the program, which I have found, and I wish we had learned about these before losing some information.

  33. mraczki2 Says:

    It was really interesting to work with audacity. I have never worked with anything that manipulated sound before. I don’t think it is someting that I would do with students in the future though. It was not something that I had considered before.
    I wish we had more time in class to do this. I am not tech savy so it was kinda stressful to get it to work on my computer. Also, my file somehow got deleted and I had to redo the assignment.

  34. jschwar7 Says:

    The audacity project was nothing really but trouble for me. I think that if we were to do a project like this in the future I would want a professional program like Protools. Something that Has the capability of using more than 2 effects and not unexpectedly quitting in the process. Also as basic as it may seem, it was very time consuming in order to produce a good project. I didn’t have that much time so I think my project suffered. These are just my thoughts.

  35. radford2 Says:

    I think audacity would be a really helpful tool to someone who was really experienced in working with it. To the rest of us (me), it was kind of a hassle. I don’t think I learned a whole lot about sound manipulation. I kinda just clicked on different effects that I thought were cool and tagged them to the sound. I felt kind of aimless in this project, like I was randomly stringing things together with only a small idea of where I could go with it. I don’t know if I’ll use this in the future. Perhaps if I become an expert.


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