Creating a music production course for kids

Creating a music production course for kids
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It’s quite possible I’ll be creating a (free) music production course for kids. Thinking 10 weeks, would be run in a local art hall, with support from musicians in the town. There’s a hole bunch of musicians and art folks form the local music society coming to my place on Sunday, to check out what I am doing. One of them has just gifted a $20,000 piano to the community… and they want to discuss ways of progressing music in this town, which is quite poor…
So I am thinking getting five primary school to send us two kids each, for this course. I may apply for creative funding from the council… just so I can pay myself a little, fuel costs and 100 per session… then I will rope in other people for practical sessions (I am really good at designing workshops and stuff…)
My main question for you will be about the software. thinking I should recommend Reaper to these kids, then whatever interface they can afford…
I will use my own gear for instruction …
Would Reaper run on a Chromebook, for instance. I know many of these kids have Chrome books that they got from their schools…
I am trying figure out a realistic way of suggesting a super cheap, but somewhat functional setup for them to play around with…



On second thoughts, I will probably try to get someone to pay for Cubase licenses…


Well Audacity and Garageband are free although midi is a problem for audacity at least.


Mixcraft is definitely worth a look here. One gets up and recording really fast with it, it is super intuitive and easy to use. Second least expensive DAW after Reaper too.


Okay, have spoken to the Cubase dealers and I will be able to get discounts on interfaces and Cubase licences. Looking at a mixture of UR22 recording packs and UR44 interfaces, which both come with Cubase AI.
Because I am known our area, I will probably be able to raise the needed funds for this… as there are several agencies that support youth initiatives.
The music/arts outfit should also be keen on this, I’ll find out on Sunday.
I feel quite honored to be in this position, because it will allow me to bridge the “white man’s world” (scientific) with the “native world” (lots of Maori folks here). Case in point, I just reported on this…

And the organisers, who are lovely, were very happy with what I did. Also happy to get on board with this music idea. The woman organiser is a good musician…

So it’s kinda cool to have thought of this potential, being able to bring some of my “white man” knowledge to t
socially deprived and largely area - and who the hell knows, perhaps something will happen?
These are friends of mine and I have been working with them for years…

The funny thing was how we got started… The woman in charge of their media relations rang up an said she was unhappy with how the Kora band was treated by our paper. As in getting no coverage.
I asked her what has happening, and she said the band was going to play at Womad in New Plymouth, where I had coincidentally worked at first Womad just before…
I told her that I could get the band on the front page…

I then went and spoke to the editor, telling him what I had done… promising a Whakatane band a front page…
Which resulted in me getting one of the bollockings of my life… “that is not your job…” and so forth…

It turns out the editor was right. It was not my job to promise Kora one frontpage.
We ended up having them on the FRONT PAGE twice in sequential publications…
One: their WOMAD appearance
Two: their self-produced album Kora.

Friends of mine composed and created this awesome tune… (Music comes in at 0:50)

It’s a track that deserves a top-quality production… and perhaps I can help with that happening in the future…
As in, imagine that tune properly miked and properly mixed. Goddamned EPIC !!



Noooooooooo!!! Pro Tools dude! Academic license is $9 for a full native version of Pro Tools. I’m of the opinion that everyone should start with PT as their first DAW, because you never end up knowing who will do this for a living. I wish someone would have made me learn Pro Tools instead of Sonar when I was in 3rd grade.

Ok. Steniberg issues competitive cross grades. So my recommendation is to start on Pro Tools, THEN if you don’t like it, switch to Cubase, because once you have Pro Tools, the price for Cubase drops in half.


My first thought was, we’re talking kids so easy and straightforward is crucial. GargeBand, Studio One, Mixcraft or maybe Harrison Mixbus? Also, there are plenty of FREE DAW options and some included with an audio interface. I think simple, fun and engaging would be crucial for success.


Why? The cost is attractive, but you seem to believe that anyone making a career in music MUST use Pro Tools. That is simply not the case. And pardon my ignorance (I have steered away from Pro Tools for 20 years) but is it useable on Windows.
For example, most EU studios use either Samplitude or Sequoia.

Back on topic, how about that free full DAW folks were talking about.


I’m not that familiar with Chromebooks, but from what I can tell they only run Android apps? If so, that would exclude most DAWs on the market. However, there are some Android app DAWs that might work, like Audio Evolution for instance ($7 US). Check to see how a USB audio interface might work with that though.


I don’t think you are going to find much that works on a chromebook unless you use one of those online DAWs. Even then, I don’t know if you’ll ever find an interface that will work on a chromebook. I’d say stay away from the chromebook idea. Chromebooks are essentially a browser on a laptop. They’re great for some things. Music production isn’t one of them.

I’d use whatever DAW you can get cheap or free licenses for. Some companies would be happy to donate to the cause, others won’t. Something that is cross platform. PT, Studio One, Cubase, Reaper. Most interfaces come with a free version of a daw. Since this is for kids, that is probably enough to get you through the course and get them started.


If you’re on a tight budget (as my school constantly is), I could also recommend Tracktion 6. It’s got to be one of the weirdest DAWs around, but the licence is absolutely free (the old versions go free as they release new versions), and their email support is stellar. It also works on extremely modest machines as the install size is barely noticeable. Has support for all plugins and loops as well!


Would Band Lab (Cakewalk) be an option?


Thanks guys,
I think we should be able to raise some decent funds and the equipment will stay with us, to be use in more than one course… I am pretty keen on this package at the core… prices in New Zealand dollars

I am looking at four workstations, so could get one of these as the interface for ONE of the stations… just so they could hook up more mics…

Then perhaps four of these…

Hopefully these laptops should be able to run it?

I will look at Mixcraft as well, but I want to avoid Protools, for no other reason than I am biased against it.

That said, this package is also available…



I use the Scarlett 2i2, probably not the newest one, but it does allow two mic connections and sounds very clean on USB 2.0. I use with Reaper and a USB 2.0 32-key Midiplus AKM320 midi controller. You need a core synth library, though, which is included to some extent on Cubase and others, if you’re dipping into the midi side as opposed to just the wav mixing/mastering.

Before that I used Cubase SX, but I liked it. Reaper, however, is such a bargain, and I don’t think I’m giving up that much in features and feel. The learning curve was not easy, so a course like yours would have been fantastic. It should be teaching the principles of production, not just the specific DAW.

I hope you are making progress, @Sven!


Yes, thanks… I have settled on Cubase and I got Cubase Elements 9.5 for the laptop. Now exploring what off-the-shelf Cubase can do, without my expensive Kontakt libraries and stuff. Quite a lot, actually.
Having fun exploring the production templates… did a hiphop tune yesterday and this morning :slight_smile:
The local art society will incorporate a charitable trust for this work, and they are all quite excited about it. I will figure out the schedule, where to source the gear and stuff…
I am also looking at free loop libraries, many of those around as well…


Actually I would love some free loop libraries as well!! Just set up Tracktion 6 on 30 computers at my school!


Yes, this is a tricky area…
Looking for free loop libraries is like searching the internet for “good idea”.
At the moment I’m looking at using what come with Cubase and some stuff that I have.
You can also search here…