Required Comment 2: Reflect on the two assignments

Please take a moment and comment on the Audacity and GarageBand assignments. How would you revise them? What was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy? How much do you like your final compositions?

You don’t need to answer all of these, but do take a bit of time to reflect on and comment on those aspects that were most meaningful as well as most problematic

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35 Comments on “Required Comment 2: Reflect on the two assignments”

  1. Sara G. Says:

    I found that these assignments were frustrating and fun at the same time. I really enjoyed remixing the Beastie Boys song, and playing with different effects, tracks, and sounds. I was frustrated that the song “Brr Stick ‘Em” did not even have the chorus as part of its raw material.

    The Audacity project was a different story. I planned to do the remix the weekend before, only to find out that the samples would not open. It turned out that I had the wrong version of Audacity, so that pushed me back in terms of time. It was also difficult exporting the file as an MP3.

    I think if the assignments were to be revised, it would be more efficient to separate the projects and have them due at different times, like a week apart. I spent most of my time on the Garage Band remix, and I was unable to do it at home because i do not have a Mac. I think that the overall idea for the assignment is a good one, and I really enjoyed doing it, but I think if the due dates were changed, much of the stress would be eliminated.

  2. Emily D Says:

    I quite enjoyed half this project..and that half would be the garage band project. I had a blast looping stuff and finding things that didn’t work, experimenting with different pitches, etc. I don’t really know why I got a kick out of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    The audacity portion i fully, well, disliked. I couldn’t figure out how to use the program half the time, and then when I did, I didn’t understand what all the numbers did until about an hour into the project. I stuck mostly with only changing about 4 things, which made me feel like my creativity was stifled a bit. To top it off, it wouldn’t save correctly and I lost my entire project while trying to save it.

    This project is a fantastic project, but I think a different version of audacity (not beta??) should be used and perhaps allow more time explaining how to use the program (for those of us not so audacity savvy) Garagaband is fantastic, audacity is alright, just not as entertaining.

  3. lpence2 Says:

    I liked working with garage band much better than audacity. It was much easier to manage and to understand how to use it. I wish we could have had some sort of tutorial or a practice project to get to know audacity better and then I feel like I could have done something more creative. As for garage band, I really enjoyed remixing intergalactic. One thing I definitely would change would be to not make BOTH of them due on the same day. That would have been wonderful not having to worry about both of them while having other classes and assignments to do as well.

  4. oliver3 Says:

    I didn’t enjoy the audacity project at all. I have little to no background with effects and working with sound waves so the project was slow and clunky the entire time. As far as using Audacity in my classroom, I doubt I ever will. The Garageband project was at least amusing. Putting strange beats to tunes that I already knew was interesting. One activity that might be interesting is to try to combine two tunes together like the infamous Black and White album with Jay-Z and the Beatles. And once again I was pressed for time to finish both projects since we didn’t get the in class time that I thought we were going to get.

  5. Ryan M. Says:

    i feel like i had a lot of various problems working with the audacity project. there was somthing wrong with the files, and couldnt work on it at home, and while working on it the program would suddenly, and unexpectedly crash, loosing all the work that i just spent doing. i started off hoping that i could have some sort of pulse and tempo, but that was more or less impossible to do.

    the garageband assignment seemed less complicated. i everything turned out more or less how i wanted it to, with the exception of the audio track not speeding up how i wanted it to, but i think that led to a change in sound that fit the song nicely.

  6. katieh Says:

    I enjoyed working with Garage Band a lot. I’ve actually never used it, or even heard of it before this class. I love Nine Inch Nails, and I decided to remix “The hand that feeds.” I had a lot of fun putting new loops into the music, deleting extra “fluffy” sounds that I felt didn’t need to be there, and re-mixing some sound bytes and putting in moments of silence, etc. to make it more exciting.
    I have worked with Audacity, and I use it to make MP3’s of my music at home–but using it for this project was tough. I felt the little snippets of music we were given were too small to work with, I would have liked longer sound clips so as to play with effects and re-arranging. Also, I would have enjoyed having a variety of clips to choose from. I did my best with what I was given, and overall I was pretty pleased with how mine turned out.

  7. hornplaya88 Says:

    I really liked the garage band project. It was a project that I actually wanted to do. It was really easy and fun to add loops and beats to create something that is unique. It was a good way to learn how to use all the tools garage band provides.

    The Audacity project was much harder for me. I seemed overwhelmed by all the possibilities of the program itself. It seemed so overwhelming. It didn’t capture my interest or motivation and I feel that it lacked any attention to detail.

    Both projects were good learning experiences for me. I feel that a little more background in audacity would have helped.

  8. kditsch Says:

    I thought that these projects were both very creative and an interesting way to learn about Garage Band and Audacity. Before this class, I had never used either of these programs. It took me some time to fully understand what did what, but now I feel like I am more comfortable with both programs.

    I would say that my biggest challenge was trying to get the music to sound how I wanted it to sound. Many times I would get an idea in my head for Audacity, and then I would try and make it sound good, but the program did not do what I thought it would.

    There was sort of a similar situation with Garage Band. I would find a few loops that I liked and that I thought would work well with the piece I was remixing, but when I played the whole piece through, it did not work as well as I thought.

    Overall, this project was fun and I enjoyed being creative and searching for what worked and what didn’t work with the different musical styles that we had to deal with.

  9. sherylm Says:

    These projects definitely helped me practice my technological skills and find some creativity. I am probably one of the less technologically advanced students in this class so I was a little intimidated at first. However, after messing around with all the different effects, fun overcame my frustration and I enjoyed working with these programs. I also must say that I love how this class encourages and challenges us to be creative.

  10. Batman Says:

    This is one of the few projects in college that I have actually enjoyed. The garage band was the most fun. It was cool to actually make a remix to a song. The loops were fun, and garage band is easy to work with. The loops also allow the artist with creativity on what they want to add where. Audacity was a little different. It was cool to mess with all of the cool effects, but it was not nearly as fun for “creating” music. I would have to choose the garage band project if we were to pick one to do again because i actually had fun while i was doing that. The final product of my remix is something that i would actually enjoy saving and listening too in the future.

  11. us243 Says:

    These two programs were very interesting to work with and overall I enjoyed the freedom we had with the assignment. Audacity was a bit confusing and I working with those three random sound files were a bit random to work with. Compared to garage band I could see using audacity as more of a way to manipulate sounds rather than remixing songs.
    I enjoyed working with garage band and am excited to use it for a lot of things in the future!

  12. Aaron K Says:

    I enjoyed these projects – I liked the fact that we had creative license and could do what we wanted with each. I liked the garage band one more just because we could to change things up and switch instruments and still have the basic structure of the piece there. Audacity was different – there were a lot of options for different ways to change the sounds. It was a good project to get our feet wet in a complicated program. In the future, I’m not sure if I would change much – they are both good introductory level projects. I think that a little bit more time spent explaining how to use Audacity is a good idea, because the biggest challenge was not knowing where to start and what to do. But yes, good projects!

  13. Jeff N Says:

    I feel that the audacity project was a little lame. Some people have the ear and creativity to manipulate soundwaves to create new sounds, but I feel most people did not have that talent. The garage band project is a lot more hands on and the level of difficulty for remixing an already popular songs

  14. mike k Says:

    I enjoyed both projects. I feel like they really helped us explore different methods of manipulating pre-composed music. Also, the different projects made for a greater chance that people would discover with method they liked more.

    My only problem is that there was TOO MUCH at once! We had 3 projects in 2 weeks and most of them required people to use the lab Macs. In addition, it was iffy on whether or not I was using the right file (a lot of people downloaded the wrong Audacity, for instance). Since this week is the beginning of the end, other classes are really starting to pick up so having so much work in one class was really stressful.

  15. Jenny Says:

    I LOVED the garage band project…mostly because I already knew how to use the program and had worked with it in a group. Enough said about that. As far as Audacity goes, AHHHHHHH! Kill me now…I got SO frustrated, especially when it came time to save/export the file. I think in this situation it would have been good to at least have one other person working along with me so that we could explore together. Ideally, I think we should have gone over it in class…maybe even some basics of how to manipulate it and put effects on…it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to even GRAB the darn thing! Anyway, I wish I could have had more fun with it…I just don’t like the program, personally…but maybe it works better for others. Garage Band is just easier to use and lets you enjoy the actual music and technology aspect.

  16. theresas Says:

    I think a lot of people have gotten to say what I also thought of this project, and that is the Garage Band project was great, but the Audacity was not fun at all. I really enjoyed the Garage band project because it was easy to figure out, and we got to experiment and make our own remixes based on our abilities to use Garage Band. It is an easy program to use and it was so much fun to experiment with the different mixes.

    The Audacity project, however, is a different story. The assignment itself, before program issues, was too open-ended, and on top of the Garage Band Project, it was just a nuisance. Maybe they should have been assignment separately… Assignment aside, however, the program itself was really frustrating because it too so long for me to simply highlight one portion of the clip and use an effect on it. I ran into many problems where I just could not select the thing I needed to select because I did not have the correct courser. The program is nice for its price, but it is just really, really frustrating.

  17. mus243 Matt Says:

    Thanks for the comments and the clear consensus that the Audacity project was a flop. Interestingly, I ran the project in much the same way last semester and it was quite a success (I’m going to write a short post on this on the weblog).

    I haven’t listened to the remixes yet, but the frustration doesn’t show. In fact, I really think that several of the Audacity projects are fantastic, and only a few are duds.

    So, what I’m feeling right now is that more examples and perhaps a bit more instruction would help. I also think that having both projects due on the same day was problematic in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Primarily, I think many people worked on GarageBand in class rather than Audacity, and so they didn’t have a chance to ask questions. I got many Audacity emails the day before the project was due where it was obvious the program hadn’t been opened before (not a complaint, only a realization that if you had worked on one or the other outside of class it is much less likely you would not have opened it until the day before due).

  18. Emily D Says:

    Because I chose to do the Radiohead remix it took me a lot longer because i couldn’t use loops. That was a very time consuming error.
    Because of this, I had significantly less time to work on the Audacity portion, which sucked because I felt unsure of how to use the program. I agree that a bit more instruction would probably make the project more fun, because then we’d know how to actually use the program.

  19. Erin Kimberlee Says:

    I feel that I would have enjoyed this project much more if I had been taught how to use the programs. I have never used either of them before and I felt like I went into the assignments with very little prior knowledge, especially with Audacity.

    I spent a lot of time experimenting with both programs. I now realize some ways that I can manipulate music, especially with Garage Band. Honestly though, I had trouble figuring out how much to change, or what to change. I think I would have had more fun with the Garage Band assignment if I had known any of the songs that we had the opportunity to remix.

    All in all, this assignment was frustrating at times because I felt like I was guessing a lot while using the programs. I see the main goal behind it, but I felt that the project took much longer than it should have because of my lack of prior knowledge.

  20. Melissa S Says:

    I think the garage band project was a really good idea, I feel that now with the group project (political campaign ad) and this one, I now am confident enough to venture into garage band on my own. As for the audacity project, I feel like I didn’t learn much from it and just ended up getting frustrated because my file kept getting deleted and I would have to do the whole project all over again.

  21. glenn e Says:

    I realize that my opinion of the audacity project may be out of line with others’, but I rather enjoyed it. I think the purpose of the assignment was to just dive in and experiment, so the open-endedness of the assignment totally facilitated that. I don’t like the way audacity is set up, but I still enjoyed tinkering with effects and all of its tools. It was just an opportunity to show how creative you could be (within the context of Audacity) with the four links given. I would not change the instruction much besides saying just that.

    I loved the Garage Band remix project. I found myself spending a seriously long time tinkering with all the effects and possibilities and moods that could go along with The Hand That Feeds. This project inspired me, also – I plan on releasing a song that my punk band recorded on Garage Band and letting our fans (I use that term loosely – the Peeping Toms are far from superstardom) do their own remixes and post them on their site. It’s an incredibly awesome way to relate to a band and it makes music more interactive.

  22. Marie R Says:

    The biggest challenge of the two projects was the GarageBand project. I find it difficult to compose chords to accompany an already existing vocal line. I think it was a good project though, because it put me out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the Audacity project much more. I like taking sounds that already exist and distorting them to mix them. However, I think that Audacity has no hope for becoming a tool for compositions, but is, rather, a tool for taking live recordings and refining them. I have no suggestions for revisions. . . maybe have a student export his GarageBand project then work with it in Audacity. That might be cool.

  23. NatDoug Says:

    We’ve discussed how in many ways technology has allowed individuals to create professional level work – that is, how these fairly inexpensive programs and tools allow us to manipulate sound and create music in ways previously unattainable for the general public and student levels. I feel that this is especially true of Garageband. The program really makes remixing quite simple, and allows the user to explore hundreds of different sound combinations. I was surprised at the instruments and beat patterns that I ended up liking with Beastie Boys! Also working with really current and popular music is something new to my career as a music student and I enjoyed a new and different challenge.

    I do not feel that Audacity is this same accessible tool that allows the public to dive into professional sound manipulation. Audacity was much less intuitive than Garageband’s coordinated colors and beat patterns. I was often frustrated trying to operate the program and aligning different effects. I was somewhat unimpressed. I do see the merit in a sound manipulation program such as this, but I am much less inspired than when using Garageband.

  24. Ben K Says:

    I personally didn’t mind audacity. I wish I could have seen some more options that that program can do. I kind of figured out some of them, but I think there was alot more that I missed. Plus, I deleted everything but the first part of the 4 choices, so I got pretty bored working with those 3ish to 4 seconds of orchestration. But I had fun trying to find ways of making those three seconds last 20 seconds in the wierdest way’s possible. The Garage band remix I really liked. It gave me more time to work with the program and explore some more options then the political campaign message thing assignment. But I really enjoyed this one because there really weren’t any boundaries to abide by, so I got to really create more, which I really enjoyed. I do wish the program itself had more options in instruments when you aren’t losing loops, but are playing it from the midi keyboard. But it had some cool stuff you could explore. But anyway, I just really enjoyed this assignemnt because it let us be more creative musically then in almost all of the assignments we did before it.

  25. kevinraschen Says:

    I didn’t mind any of the two project but I thought that working with Garageband was the most fun. I felt that coming up with some chords and loops came pretty easy and the end result is quite pleasing. It is amazing how relatively inexpensive programs can produce such quality results. Working with Audacity was interesting because it was program that I had never used before and it forced you to be more creative. My only problem with audacity was the compatibility issues but other than that it was fun.

  26. Colby C Says:

    GarageBand was interesting, but not necessarily planned well enough. Between the bad formatting of NUMB, the lack of anything but vocals for the Beastie Boys, and not very many contrasting pieces to choose from limited the appeal of this project. It was a decent way for students to learn the functionality of Apple’s brilliant design with the program. Hopefully next year, the MUS 243 will be able to experience GarageBand 4, which has many more tools that would be better suited for education and classroom use.

    Audacity is a great FREE program, but lacks so much compared to many more advanced softwares. I agree with others in their frustrations. Audacity has MANY other more beneficial uses that we could have explored rather than the mindless plug-in editing to essentially create 20 seconds of random sound. On this note, I feel that this Tchaikovsky obsessed semester was not a good focus for this project. When we listened to the previous classes Stapler/Voice project, that was turing ambient sounds INTO a musical work, rather than what we had to do — butchering musical samples. As teachers and performers, it has many features that would have been more useful to explore for how it could help us in the future.

  27. emilyjayne Says:

    i would have liked to have tried different songs in garage band instead of being forced to pick from a few songs which, lets face it, all sounded the same. i used to work with reason all the time at my high school, and it always worked out better when someone was allowed to pick something that inspired them. just a suggestion.

    however, i thought garage band was a much better project than the audacity mess. i don’t really feel like i learned much of anything – obviously, i knew how to use the program already – but i don’t see how splicing together annoying samples of music together really teaches someone how to use a program. i agree with colby in that it is very difficult to create “music” from something that ALREADY is music – you’re already bogged down by the fact that you know what it’s supposed to sound like. i would advise sticking to the random noises that last semester got to work with, if you insist on doing this project. it seems WAY more fun and produces more variety (i think EVERYBODY’S song this semester started with the first clip you gave us…. boring!)

  28. mcowen2 Says:

    The first assignment, the garageband was fun to do. I really enjoyed remixing a song. that was the first time that i have ever done that and it really captured my interest, and i felt like i was able to be creative and since there are so many possibilities on garage band i felt like i could explore and try different things to see what sounded good and how i wanted it. and i liked the song that i remixed so it was even more enjoyable for me to do.

    Audacity was less enjoyable. I felt much more limited when working with audacity. and trying to be creative, was harder because i felt like there are less options and that compared to garageband it took more time to be find how to work with it to make it sound good. I felt as if whatever i did with audacity it just sounded really hectic to me and i didn’t really feel like i learned much. but all together it was a good learning experience to get to know how to use the program for future references.

  29. Andrew Says:

    I feel as though this assignment gave a great introduction into studio production. As a music educator, I feel it is vital in this day and age to be able to use technology to your advantage. Many students can find a new drive for music by using technology to create things in their own way. The audacity project gave an insight to using the program to adjust sound clips or improve the sound quality of some recordings. I feel that using Audacity allows for as much liberty and creativity as Garage Band. The main difference is that audacity requires the user to create or find their own loops. This opens the door for much more originality and creative license. I believe Audacity is better for editing sound, but for editing and adjusting whole music pieces, it falls short.

    Garage Band is a great program for Mac users. I believe that Garage Band is limited by the fact that it is not open source. Since Garage Band is shipped with every Mac, I would consider it to be free software in a way. The software provides many tools for adding to music and creating “perfect” clips that can be looped better than recording the whole piece. Garage Band also allows for students with limited musical ability to make music by already having material for the student to use.

    Both of these applications do a great job, but each has it’s own specific purposes. They both do some of the same things, but for the projects we were doing I feel Garage Band was better suited to complete the task at hand.

  30. Eric Swanson Says:

    Overall, I enjoyed the Garage Band assignment much more than I did the Audacity assignment. I felt like I was entitled to much more musical freedom with Intergalactic since the accompaniment tracks were not already there to listen to or remix; that made something like The Hand that Feeds more difficult for me to do or be inspired to create something tatlly new with. My only issue with the program is that I wish all of the loops were MIDI based and the general sound effects could be edited more easily. This could help create more variety and freedom for the user if the user wishes to use it.

    With Audacity, I felt like I was stuck into a corner with only a certain number of sounds to choose from and limited means and knowledge of the program to modify and mix them. In this sense, I didn’t feel very inspired to create something brand new here either. My recommendtion would be to give a greater variety of sounds and a whole week on how to use Audacity and how to deal with it’s complicated formatting and storing of audio information.

  31. travismarkley Says:

    I thought the assignments were pretty cool. I happen to like garage band more than audacity, but both serve their purposes well. I just wish garage band would come out for computers that are not macs. that would be great. On to the projects. I felt like both of my assignments turned out pretty well. I thought they were both pretty creative and I don’t think anyone would be too disappointed with either of them. I don’t know what the big problem was that people were having with audacity. I thought it was pretty simple.

  32. Lauren S Says:

    I really did not like the audacity assignment. I didn’t like is mostly because of the program that we used. It was cool to manipulate sounds and make different compositions, but I didn’t end up making anything that I would ever want to listen to again. The program was kind of hard to use because it was trial and error. Since we weren’t familiar with the program we had to try every effect to see what exactly it did. It was also hard to judge what percentage of change we wanted to use because we didn’t know how much change we needed to make a difference. There was also no sense of time, which i really did not like. The only thing I think I would use audacity for in the future is editing music or putting songs together, but even so I like using garage band and or iMovie is great for cutting music.
    I did like the garage band assignment. I literally could’ve spent days on it, so eventually I just had to pick something. I wish that there were more arrangeable songs to pick from though. I really did not love the song from nine inch nails to begin with, so I think I would’ve enjoyed the project more if I really liked the song. Other than that I thought the project was really fun and helped me to learn how to use garageband even more! I think classes in the future would enjoy this assignment.

  33. eskayve Says:

    I really enjoyed doing both of these assignments. I did not really like the Audacity program because it seemed really limited in what you could do to edit a song (you really could only change the sounds and add effects). I like how in my piece I built to a climax… but I wish I had figured more out about the program to distort the sounds even more.

    The Garage Band project was a lot of fun. I had always wanted to learn how to work with Garage Band, and this assignment really taught me so much about the program. I experimented with instrumentation, loops, entering brass parts on the keyboard, dynamics, and switching the sounds between speakers…non of which I knew how to do before hand. What was really fun for me was taking a song and completely reduing it… the only part I kept the same was the vocals…which made it really fun to do! I had no idea some songs were published as Garage Band files for editing! I was happy with how this one came out!

  34. Mackenzie M Says:

    As is the case with almost everyone, I found working with Audacity more frustrating that Garage Band. I found myself limited because of my understanding of the software, and my project became an exercise in manipulating sounds. I quickly became discouraged, but then I remembered that the frustration of a student always results in the “teach-able moment.” How would I use Audacity in the classroom? I think I would approach it with a more exploratory perspective… i.e. manipulating sound effects rather than creating a “composition.” This also presents the perfect opportunity for discussion: what is the difference between the two activities? At what point does the computations of software become composition? What specific things make one project a series of sounds and another project a piece of music?

    The Garage Band project was an eye-opener for me in terms of looking at popular music. When “The Hand that Feeds” was first played, I guessed that four tracks were used. I think the total was 17. I quickly realized how much I had to learn about production! The manipulation power of Garage Band was almost disconcerning… and leads to all sorts of questions about the validity of music today. In terms of my project, I wish I had figured out how to import a file from Sibelius to Garage Band… instead I just used the easy way out and played directly into the keyboard.

  35. Kristin K Says:

    I also found working with Audacity very frustrating. I feel like I lucked out getting my composition to sound like it did, and I felt very limited with what I could do.

    I really enjoyed the Garage Band project. I have always found Garage Band easy to use, and I like having all of the loops to choose from. It would be nice to be able to put garage band on computers other than macs.


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