Ring Tone Rage

One of the greatest tools in Apple’s iLife is, of course, GARAGEBAND. Multi-faceted programs like GB provide both novice and moderate composers a user-friendly platform on which they express their art in musical style.

Having just taught my students an IMovie lesson, we observed THE OFFICE PARODY @ teachertube.com.  A fascinating concept we discovered is their use of the actual THEME SONG from The Office television program. This led our class to COLLABORATIVELY work on finding various THEME SONGS on the web.

By searching for TV Theme Songs in Google, we discovered multiple FILE FORMATS including .Wav, MP3, MP4 as well as MIDI.

An often overlooked — or underused — feature in GB is its ability to convert file formats. GB allows us to IMPORT files in MIDI.  GB will “default” to particular instruments such as piano, guitar, drums, etc. based on the data stored in the MIDI file.

MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. One “eye-opening” feature for new learners to discover is that MIDI is only data. In other words, there are no actual SOUNDS in a MIDI file.  The quality of an imported MIDI file is the result of several things including the musicality of the one who created the original file. Also, the tone generator on the host computer or software program will also greatly affect the quality of the tones heard.

Our students imported MIDI files into GB from THE OFFICE.  Several students added their own creativity by adding SPECIAL EFFECTS, DRUMS or A DIFFERENT INSTRUMENT than the original MIDI file designated.

Once completed, the song in GB needed to be SHARED. Most often, files are shared to ITUNES. In this case, we shared to RINGTONE.

As students prepare to be relevant in the REAL work force, I believe that projects such as creating ringtones for cell phones is as viable a concept as learning math. After all… what’s YOUR ring tone set to today?

(Please be advised that we must follow copyright laws when creating new works — especially if they are being created for profit.)

Your thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “Ring Tone Rage

  1. John- Great post! I’m a garageband junkie. Thanks for the reminder about MIDI files with Garageband. Your reference to “The Office” theme song made me chuckle…one of the guys from the Men’s Choir I direct at Seattle Pacific University came up to me after rehearsal yesterday with the printed music from “The Office” (I think he got it off the web…) and said “We should do a Men’s Choir arrangement of this song!” He started playing it at the piano and all the guys left in the room, stopped talking and right on cue started singing the tune….

  2. I love the feature of ring tones. I have students do one more step. They compose in Sibelius and save it as a MIDI file. Then drag and drop into GarageBand.

    Keeping it REAL, is exactly what music teachers should be doing. John you are REAL. Keep up the great work.

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