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Classroom Projects

Published: Mon June 19, 2006

Here are 4 simple classroom projects that use different features of Cubase software.

These projects can be undertaken with Cubase SX, SL or SE - simply download the appropriate files for your software.

Each project has a downloadable student worksheet that gives clear instructions and outlines which features of Cubase should be used.

Click on the links below to open each project:

Project 1 - Creating Dance Tracks using Loops and Samples

Aim:

To create an original piece of contemporary dance music using a selection of loops and samples. Students will use the copy, paste and repeat functions to develop a piece of music lasting between 1 and 2 minutes. For the more advanced students, the activity can be extended to include the use of pitch shift and time-stretch functions to alter the pitch and/or tempo of samples.

Age Range:

This project is suitable for KS3 classes. Teachers may choose to adapt the ideas to suit the needs of their individual students and the availability of music technology resources.

Lesson Structure:

This project can be divided into the following stages:

  • Auditioning and Importing samples
  • Creating a musical structure using copy/paste/repeat
  • Making changes to pitch and rhythm - using pitch shift and time-stretch
  • Mixing and Blending - using the Cubase mixer
  • Exporting to stereo on CD

Musical Elements:

This project will provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following musical elements:

  • Pitch - melody and harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Structure
  • Instrumentation
  • Texture

Cubase Skills and Concepts:

This project may provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following Cubase skills and concepts:

  • Importing Loops and Samples
  • Grabbing samples from an audio CD
  • Cut/Paste/Copy/Repeat tools
  • Fade in and Fade out using blue handles
  • Audio Processing tools
  • Pitch shift and time-stretch
  • Using the Cubase mixer to balance levels
  • Exporting the completed track to stereo CD

Learning Outcome:

At the end of this project each student will have produced either individually, or in pairs, an original composition using a set of loops and samples, lasting between 1 and 2 minutes. This composition will demonstrate an understanding of texture, structure, pitch and rhythm.

Download Resource Files:

The resource files for this project may be downloaded below by right-clicking and selecting 'Save Target As...'. You only need download the Project File and Content Files for the version of Cubase you use - either SE, SL or SX.


Project 2 - Sequenced Samba - Using the MIDI Drum Editor

Aim:

To use the Cubase Drum Editor to create a MIDI sequenced samba. This will be largely based upon two established samba rhythm patterns supplied in Drum Editor format. It will be supplemented with spaces for improvisation and development.

Age Range:

This project is suitable for KS3 classes and may be integrated within a larger project based upon Latin American music or World Music. Teachers may choose to adapt the ideas to suit the needs of their individual students and the availability of music technology resources. The general ideas within this project could easily be adapted to suit African drumming or Caribbean Music.

Lesson Structure:

  • This project can be divided into the following stages -
  • Learning each rhythmic building block - 1 or 2 bars long
  • Learning the names and timbres of each rhythm instrument
  • Entering the rhythm data within the Cubase Drum Editor
  • Shaping the rhythms using velocity data to add accents
  • Using the cut/paste/copy/repeat tools to create an extended structure
  • Inserting 2 or 4 bar gaps to accommodate improvisations
  • Recording improvised solos played in real time
  • Exporting to stereo CD

Musical Elements:

This project will provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following musical elements:

  • Pitch - melody and harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Structure
  • Instrumentation
  • Texture
  • Syncopation
  • Cross rhythms
  • Improvisation

Cubase Skills and Concepts:

This project may provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following Cubase skills and concepts:

  • The Drum Editor - setting up drum maps and choosing sounds
  • Input rhythm data in Drum Editor
  • Using velocity data to create accents
  • Cut/Paste/Copy/Repeat tools
  • Recording MIDI data in real time - using punch in/out
  • Exporting the completed track to stereo CD

Learning Outcome:

At the end of this project each student will have produced either individually, in pairs, or in a small group, an original samba that contains pre-programmed MIDI sequenced tracks and improvised solos.

Download Resource Files:

The resource files for this project may be downloaded below by right-clicking and selecting 'Save Target As...'. You only need download the Project Files for the version of Cubase you use - either SE, SL or SX.


Project 3 - 'Spaced - Out' Soundscape - Textures, Timbres and Manipulation

Aim:

To use creative editing techniques within Cubase to produce an original composition that explores texture and timbre. This project will require a competent level of Cubase skill, specifically in the manipulation and editing of audio data. The project is based upon a journey around an alien planet, with 4 distinct sections - (i)The landing, (ii)First glimpses of the wilderness, (iii)The monster chase, (iv)The Escape

Age Range:

This project is suitable for GCSE music students, although the most able year 9 students might be able to undertake this work successfully. This project could result in a composition that the student may submit as part of their GCSE music composition portfolio.

Teachers may choose to adapt the ideas to suit the needs of their individual students and the availability of music technology resources.

Lesson Structure:

This project is designed to be delivered as an individual student composition, where the teacher gives the student the composition brief and then supports/facilitates individual learning.

The student should follow a conventional composition process whereby they regularly review and evaluate their work.

The composition brief provides detailed information about the various sections of the composition and the musical and technological content that should be integrated within the final piece.

Musical Elements:

This project will provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following musical elements:

  • Pitch - melody and harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Structure
  • Instrumentation
  • Texture

Cubase Skills and Concepts:

This project may provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following Cubase skills and concepts:

  • Capture of original audio data and samples - using a microphone or from CD
  • Audio editing - extracting sections of an audio sample
  • Audio processing and manipulation - cross fades, pitch shift, timestretch, reverse, normalise
  • Use of the Cubase mixer
  • Use of plug in effects and processing
  • Use of VST instruments

Learning Outcome:

At the end of this project each student will have produced an original composition that demonstrates a considered use of a range of music technology skills in relation to the creation and manipulation of textures and timbres.

Download Resource Files:

The Student Worksheet for this project may be downloaded below by right-clicking and selecting 'Save Target As...'.


Project 4 - Patterns in Minimalism - Working with MIDI Melodies and Rhythm Patterns

Aim:

To use MIDI sequencing to explore minimalism composition techniques.

Age Range:

This project is suitable for KS3 classes, and would integrate well into a programme of study on 20th Century compositional techniques. The general principles within the project could be extended to allow GCSE classes to undertake this activity as part of their composition studies.

Teachers may choose to adapt the ideas to suit the needs of their individual students and the availability of music technology resources.

Lesson Structure:

This project is designed to be delivered in the following stages:

  • Initial listening to examples of minimalism - eg Steve Reich, Philip Glass
  • Devise the melodic and rhythmic cells - weaker students may use the templates
  • Develop variants of the cells - augmentation, diminution, invert, reverse, transpose
  • Learn to play the cells - keyboard work or classroom percussion
  • Choosing timbres
  • Building structures - gradual change
  • Balance, Blend and mixing
  • Export to stereo CD

Musical Elements:

This project will provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following musical elements:

  • Pitch - creating melodies and phrases
  • Rhythm - patterns
  • Compositional devices - augmentation, diminution, sequence, inversion, transposition
  • Structure
  • Instrumentation
  • Texture


Cubase Skills and Concepts:

This project may provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the following Cubase skills and concepts:

  • MIDI sequencing
  • Note data input in real time and step time
  • Editing note data - pitch, position, length, velocity
  • Choosing timbres
  • Cut/paste/copy/repeat of blocks of data
  • Tempo control
  • Mixing to stereo CD

Learning Outcome:

At the end of this project students will have produced a piece of minimalism music, that they have created either individually or in pairs. This will demonstrate both music and technology skills in the development of musical ideas and the use of technology to realise these ideas into a coherent piece of music.

Download Resource Files:

The resource files for this project may be downloaded below by right-clicking and selecting 'Save Target As...'. You only need download the Project File for the version of Cubase you use - either SE, SL or SX.

Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the Student Worksheet. If this is not installed on your system, it may be downloaded here.

 
 
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