Senior Secondary Music Task 2: Update #4

I am pleased to say that I have finished creating my iBook! All that remains for this assessment now is to draw up at least 6 accompanying lesson plans.

Here’s a few images of the finished iBook:

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One of the difficulties that I encountered was the compatibility between Keynotes and iBooks Author. Using the widget, you can embed your keynote within your iBook for interactivity except that you must have low expectations of the functionality. I found that the Magic Move transition poorly translated to iBooks and for some reason only worked when progressing backwards through my keynote using the red arrow. Fortunately (even though my keynote was set to ‘links only’) I was able to progress forwards through the book without the forward arrow I had created (why??) AND experience the animations that I wanted. But not with my specified red forward arrow link.

So my work around was delete the forward arrow I created and use the page to navigate through the keynote smoothly with nice animations. I know I’m stubborn, but I wanted a nice user experience!

Onto a real dilemma. I found it quite a challenge developing score analysis scaffolding within the format of an iBook with the potential to be used as a self directed learning experience. I did not want to give away all the important musical content without students having the opportunity to study the score and discover some of it themselves. Consequently in my iBook, I have tried to create a way forward with a happy medium approach. This way students are prompted to look at particular aspects of the score to discover for themselves the various features.



Senior Secondary Music Task 2: Update #3

So I spent most of yesterday working in front of my computer and have now created the good part of an iBook which functions kind of like a large hub, giving access to a large proportion of all the resources I am making.

One of the greatest challenges I have faced in the creation of this glorious, trianglar featuring piece of iBook has been finding a good way to play a composition whilst simultaneously viewing its score. It sounds really simple but unfortunately, with the way that iBooks likes to work… You have to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Here are the two ways that I have used to view a score in iBooks while listening to audio:

  1. The first way is to use the Scrolling Side Bar widget:

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From there you can click and drag the page thumbnails (in red box below) from the score in Preview straight into the Scrolling Side Bar in iBooks author.

Make sure though that you aren’t dragging them into the main window of the project, but you’re actually placing them directly into the Scrolling Side Bar otherwise they’ll just be on the main page.

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From there you can resize them within the Scrolling Side Bar and make them scroll from top to bottom. This technique is only good for scores that have a small amount of instruments though, because if your score has instruments that fill up the entire page (and that page is only showing say 4-5 bars of music), then you will find that you are constantly scrolling to keep up. Not very fun.

But that’s where you’ll need the second technique.

2. The Gallery Technique:

Similar as before, instead of choosing the Scrolling Side Bar Widget, grab the Gallery from the widgets list and place it in your ibook.

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From there, drag the score pages as seen in the first method and resize them in the Gallery Widget. It’s pretty neat because when you click and drag the following pages, it just automatically adds it on the end. As you view the score while listening to the audio, all you have to do is swipe left and right. I recommend making the score as large as possible though. Another touch is to make the background just slightly transparent using the inspector (I think I used about 85% Opacity).

As for the rest of the ibook, it’s all taking place now which is great. I’ve even tried to colour code the pages that feature the different learning experiences: Performance (Purple), Composition (Green), Analysis/Musicology (Blue) and Aural (Pink).

I’ve also tried to make any hyperlinks in the iBook seamlessly work with the aesthetic. For example, one of the activities I have written involves students picking a minimalist composer from the page and doing some research on them. Instead of providing their names and then having the students then go and search them up, I decided to just bypass that process by providing the composer’s pictures and when tapped, it instantly Google’s their name and the student immediately finds out who they are. I know that it’s kind of choosing the composer based on their looks but there’s not much of a work around that… It’s more about the functionality.

As for the composition tasks, I have at least two more to create. For the first one, I made a worksheet in Sibelius that follows on from the previous class’s content and provided it in the iBook using the PDF Bookry Widget (with accompanying instructions). The others will possibly follow a similar format, we will see.

Hopefully by the end of today I might have a completed iBook! That’d be nice..

See ya


Senior Secondary Music Task 2: Update #2

So I have now finished working on the resource I was making with Hype (in the last blog post). It happily slots into my iBook and I think it works quite smoothly and works how I want it to.

Initially the interaction wasn’t very smooth as I had a couple of starting animations and you had to tap it for it to begin working in iBooks. Having checked the ‘automatically begin animation’ box and removing the starting animation, it now works seamlessly inside my iBook, which now also has a few pages in it!

This is how it works! If you’d like to use this resource, shoot me an email.

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As I have been doing more planning and resourcing my unit of work has been changing slightly, I have realised that my iBook resource could be taught with two different approaches. Firstly, it could be the teaching resource used in conjunction with more traditionally teacher directed lessons, OR it cold be used for a more self directed style of teaching. For the purposes of this assignment, I have decided to create a specific order of learning activities that sequence together to give teachers a guide as to how this unit of work could be presented.

The benefits of using it in a self directed context means that students develop their own skills of time management and take more control over their learning. It would also free up the teacher to provide one on one time with students, supporting them at their particular level and area of need.

The benefits of using the resource in a more teacher led manner is that all students will be up to the same point each class, facilitating opportunities for class discussions, discoveries and peer support.

The more I think about it, I am currently leaning towards preferring the latter approach for HSC Music 2 as the very nature of a class supports the notion of community. I am not suggesting that I am not generally in favour of self directed learning, in the right context I think it could be very empowering for students. However, if we are constantly modelling to students that learning (and life!) is all about the individual, then we are developing a very individualistic society. Additionally, the context of music can be very social, aided by the opinions and collaboration of many. Not to mention that the HSC already has an individualistic focus.

Food for thought..

Senior Secondary Music Task 2: Update #1

This semester, we have been focussing on Stage 6 learning, which is the Year 11 and 12 courses in the NSW Syllabus. For my next assignment, I must create a unit of work on the mandatory topic which is Music of the Last 25 Years – with an Australian Focus. The catch is that I have to create all the required resources, so here I am blogging the process.

I have been brainstorming a lot of ideas recently and I am hoping to create a unit that is student centred and some what self directed, allowing students to take control of their own learning and to develop skills in time management as well as analysis, performing, composition and aural skills.

I am planning on basing my unit around the works of the Australian composer, Ella Macens. Ella is currently enrolled in the Masters of Composition at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and can be found on Facebook and Soundcloud.

The image you can see below is a resource that I am hoping will appear as a widget in an iBook or as an additional app. Hype is the application that I am using and it enables users to create Html files without the knowledge of coding that can then be embedded on websites or iBooks etc. It has been stretching for me to learn yet another software program, but I am hoping to use it more in the future in my teaching.

This resource is ‘concept’ based and will feature key/helpful terms and words for each concept to help build students’ musical understanding. It aims to be a memory jogger when looking at a piece of music to analyse and a reminder of things to consider when facing potential exam questions.

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Learning how to use Hype has involved watching a few Youtube videos (but thankfully not as many as I anticipated!). The main thing I needed assistance with was the recording function, as I am used to recording in real time (with audio). However in Hype, once you hit the record button, you then move the timer curser along to your desired point (how long you want the animation to go for) and then move your object. Make sure you turn off the record feature again, otherwise you will animate a lot more than you intended!

To make each layer function smoothly, I had a new scene for each concept of music. I grouped the Green Square and the word Pitch and turned it into a button that linked it to is related information page. Once clicked, it immediately transitions to the Pitch page and I animated the other boxes to move out of the way, whilst fading in the information. I did this for each concept.

Interactive Music Installation Final Reflections: Update #6

Some final reflections..

Last night in the Con cafe, our class had a great night presenting all of our music technology related endeavours. It was a really cool evening to be a part of (thanks to those who came!). The night was filmed, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to upload a video of my demonstration for you to see in the near future.


In light of last night, I’ve been thinking about my installation and how the music is actually created/played with it. What I enjoy about it is that anyone, musical or not can have a go and instantly be able to create something that sounds cool. Another thing is that the buttons and controllers that I’ve used are large enough to be used by people who might struggle with fine motor skills, have a disability, small children, or people who are in rehab.

Here are a few articles on Nintendo Wii’s in rehab (I used nintendo controllers for my installation):

What if you could combine Music Therapy with this kind of rehab? Using the controllers to create the music? I’m unsure as to how compatible both are, but I think it could be very exciting and interesting area to experiment with and develop.

If you’re reading this and haven’t a clue what I am on about, I recently finished a project that you can catch up on in my previous blog posts.

Peace – Jonno

Interactive Music Installation Tech in Music Ed Task 2: Update #5

Really excited to share that I am finished working on my installation and have also completed the visuals in Mainstage. Here’s a look!

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Using the layout menu in Mainstage, I was able to make the page you see above. As I play the different sounds from the Guitar Hero Guitar and Wii Balance Board, the on screen controls will also move – pretty cool! The squares on the top represent the coloured buttons on the Guitar Hero Guitar and are also coloured to match. On the right shows the volume levels of both the dishwasher and thunder strike sounds. Below is a pitch shift gauge and the backing track playback (blue). The squares resembling the Wii Balance Board light up when you stand in the corresponding places on the actual Wii Board and the X and Y Pad on the left show the Left and Right delays as I control them with the Joystick.

I had a practice run yesterday and all was running well so that’s good. Hoping I don’t run out of batteries on the night but I’ve bought some extras just in case.

Accompanying my installation, I’ve made some instructions so people aren’t completely lost when they have a go.

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Hope to see you there!

Peace – Jonno

Interactive Music Installation Tech in Music Ed Task 2: Update #4

This afternoon I made the decision to only focus on using the Guitar Hero Guitar and the Balance Board as Midi controllers for my installation. There were plenty of buttons and features to utilise on the guitar that I hadn’t yet mapped and I also wanted to simplify the interaction experience for any participants.

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The picture above shows a selection of the instruments (with effects) from Genesis that I have mapped to control from the Guitar Hero Guitar and Wii Balance Board. As you can see, I have added a Tremelo effect and a Pitch Shifter in the Vox Channel and I have also added a limiter to the ‘Gurgles’ to prevent them from clipping. Both the Tremolo and Pitch Shift effects are bypass-able by pressing their corresponding buttons on the Wii Remote inside the Guitar. Button ‘1’ toggles the pitch shift effect, and that can then be controlled by the Whammy Bar and Button ‘2’ toggles the Tremolo effect on and off. This is to create some extra textures and experiment with.

The sound that I am most pleased with is the Thunder. In the recording of Genesis, the thunder rolls in and out with many varying strikes. I still wanted quite a selection of strikes at my disposal for the installation and so I learnt via Music Tech Help Guy (by the way his videos are really great) on Youtube how to alternate different audio samples within the Logic EXS 24 Sampler Instrument. Now I have 5 different lightening strikes mapped to each of the two black buttons (+ and -) on the Guitar Hero guitar. I unchecked the ‘Pitch’ selection so no matter what note I map them to, they will still sound the same. From there I moved them up high on the keyboard so I wouldn’t trigger them with any other buttons, intending to play other sounds.

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So this next picture (below) is of the Sample Delay effect for the instrument that I’ve named ‘Dad’. It’s called that because I sampled my Dad’s impressive tongue clicking skills and they sound really cool with a delay effect on them. Mapping the Right and Left delays to the X and Y axis on the Joy Stick found on the Guitar Hero Guitar (through OSCulator) I am able to control this delay on the go. It’s really cool (I also secretly love just watching the little sliders move as well).

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I then linked this up neatly with an X and Y Pad on the Workspace in Mainstage to make it look pretty. There isn’t any function here really, but the visual cue helps understand what effect it’s having as you change it in real time. The X and Y pad is below on the left and the little dot moves around as the Joystick does.

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The big blue strip along the bottom shows the Playback audio (but at the start is fairly quiet so that’s why it looks bland). I plan to edit and add more features to the Workspace soon.

And here’s a picture showing all the mapping that I have now completed.

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Since I last posted, I’ve decided to sign up and do a demonstration performance of my installation, performing Genesis live – so that should be pretty fun!

And here’s a video of how it was working before I added in all these extra instruments! Hope you enjoy!

As always, if you have any questions or comments please go for it.

Blessings – Jonno