I was struggling for a title on this one!
I wanted to show how with limited singing and musical skills, you could use some simple audio-editing software (in this case Apple's Garageband software) to a) build parts to embellish a song b) use the software to help teach a song.
If you haven't got Garageband on a Mac a friend of mine has apparently recorded the whole of his first album using Audacity. I don't know this software well so I will have to let others comment as to how easy it might be to record different tracks using this. One other option on Windows is to use NCH's Mixpad. It would however set you or your school back about £46. I would think that a lot of music departments would already have access to the software and hardware you need.
So, if you think this is really not what you might spend your energies, money and time on as a language teacher, think then how you might see this working as a cross-curricular project with the music department and encourage your pupils to take a basic song you use in your lessons, embellish it, remix it, add harmony parts and then re-present it to the class. You might end up with 20 different excuses to sing the same lyrics! Rote learning sorted!
First, this is the original track that I found on a wonderful Canadian site called "Languages Online". Have a look at it for lots of other resources, but the song I used was this simple greetings song. The point here is that you need to select a song with a fairly simple chord structure.
I do not know who originally recorded this but my thanks for such a simple catchy tune.
Here is a Garageband remix to give you a sense of what is possible
So, I've added:
i) a drum backing chosen from a bank of pre-recorded options that come with Garageband (these 'snippets' of instruments are called 'loops' and there is a whole industry devoted to supplying an ever-widening range of them)
ii) a vocal harmony
iii) a bass line created by choosing a 'horn' instrument in Garageband played low down the keyboard. You enter the notes by playing an onscreen keyboard, one fingered! (see image)
iv) a simple piano overlay - again, one fingered!
v) two simple, 3 chord guitar parts.
Here's a screen shot of the musical typing board with the garageband tracks.
You can save these tracks in any variation you like by muting the parts you don't want. So, if I wanted to teach the just the tune stripped of too much accompaniment I might save only these:
And then just the harmony part
Finally, the backing track to perform too once you have taught your pupils.
I haven't really shown how to do all of this using Garageband per se and could do so if people were interested. I have put up athe vocal and instrumental parts you hear on this page on my other site at www.souffler.co.uk if you want to download them. There is also the garageband mix if you have that software to see how it works.
Hint: give your Head of music the URL of this post, apologise for the musicianship and singing but PLUG the idea of doing some linked work!