All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Picking your brains...teaching resources

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
I have been asked to research some digital teaching resources for a friend who is too busy teaching to have time to do the research themselves.

They are looking at options for recording pupils during lessons for instant playback, so they can appreciate how they are getting on, possibly to look back on in future lessons to appreciate progress etc.

Personally I own a Zoom H2, I find it very easy to use and with a suitable speaker, you can achieve instant playback (output via the headphones socket to a speaker).

As mentioned elsewhere, they are also looking at getting all their backing tracks etc onto an iPad2. This would also require a suitable speaker. In order to play a sax (or 2 or 3) along to such a backing track in the lessons, I'm guessing you'd need a speaker with a bit of oompf!

I have a TDK sound cube, which will connect to an iPod (I don't own an iPad, so can't check) via a trailing cable (not a dock). It has a sound output of 20W, and is more than loud enough for me, so i'd guess a similar sound output would be a minimum.

They need the whole lot to be fairly "portable" as they are also a peripatetic teacher. They are not highly computer literate, but want to go the digital route and want some instructions on how to do that.

So, my question to you all, but especially woodwind teachers, is do you use such resources, and what sort of resources to you use? What sort of set up would be a good one?

Any useful and helpful comments or thought gratefully received. I may have missed an obvious pitfall, or it all might be quite straightforward.

Many thanks
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,993
I've never tried recording students' efforts and I don't suppose I ever will. But, if I did, I'd probably use the cheapest Zoom and an mp3 player or a notebook/laptop for backing tracks. I'd use a powered speaker for playback - there's gazillions out there - just depends on how much weight she wants to lug around. Make sure it's got a stereo input or you'll lose half the backing track. If it was me I'd be looking at something like the Roland BA330. Can't comment on ithings cos I avoid them.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Laptop with audacity, built in webcam mike and any guitar amp that the school has hanging around to play back. All connect with simple mini jack plug cable and an adaptor. I use this set up daily as all my backing tracks are on the laptop too. save as an mp3 and you can then email the results to parents to listen to their little cherubs too.
ps sound quality is not brill using built in mike but good enough for most things
Dave
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Laptop with audacity, built in webcam mike and any guitar amp that the school has hanging around to play back. All connect with simple mini jack plug cable and an adaptor. I use this set up daily as all my backing tracks are on the laptop too. save as an mp3 and you can then email the results to parents to listen to their little cherubs too.
ps sound quality is not brill using built in mike but good enough for most things
Dave

mandy ive just gone down this road
use above as littleplum has suggested but go to dick smith or tandy to get a clip on lapel mic
with an extention lead, clip on to sax bell ,plug in to mic socket on laptop/computer and away you go.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
allansto & littleplum,
thanks for this info...just stretching this a little further, is there something that could be used on the iPad2 similar to Audacity? It doesn't necessarily have to be a free App (althogh cheap would be preferable) but that could record straight as mp3 via mic? Since my friend is planning to run the backing tracks off an iPad, it makes sense to keep equipment to a minimum.
thanks
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
OK, so I've done a bit of research and found a few audio recording apps for iPads:
- GarageBand
- BlueFiRe
- iTalk
- Voice Recorder for iPad
- Audio Memos
- FiRe 2
Some are free, none are more than £6.99.

I've also established that by using a iPad to USB camera adapter dongle you can also plug a USB microphone into the iPad and use that for recording.

in theory, at least, it should be possible to record a student playing.

But, I think I may have hit upon a problem (or just lack of my knowledge so far) ..... if the iPad is playing the backing track using an external speaker, and then I wanted to record the student playing along with the track, would I be able to?
I know that in Windows I could run each program separately in 2 different windows, but (since I don't have an iPad) I have no idea if this could be done on an iPad.
 

Filton

Member
Messages
243
You should be able to import the track in Garageband and then record the playalong as a seperate track - I am sure someone will confirm :)
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
OK so I'm making progress....
Now I have a further question: has anyone used the Blue Snowball iCE USB microphone with the iPad via the camera connection kit?
I have found references that suggest the Snowball can be used, but the iCE is a lesser model, and I can't currently find a definitive descritption that suggests it could be.
Since these are a reasonable price, I'd quite like to look into getting one.

By the way, I have succeeded in recording sax practice via GarageBand, by playing the backing track through headphones, appear to be able to put the backing track on one track, and the sax on a separate track...happy with this so far.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
I contacted Blue and asked them for a definitive answer...they said Yes....I ordered a Snowball iCE.....it works!
So I have now worked out how to import tracks into Garageband for iPad, and then to record over these tracks.
If I play the backing track out loud, I can record both the backing and my playing, if I play the backing through headphones, then I can record just me playing.

I have also managed to e-mail tracks direct from GarageBand.

So...some of my objectives have now been met.

By the way, I can't see that I mentioned anywhere else, but the built in mic on the iPad is actually quite reasonable. The only problem I had is that there is no input level adjustment, so most of my sax recordings tended to bend the needle somewhat and be rather clipped. I found a solution in burying the mic end of the iPad in a scrunched up T-shirt! With the Snowball iCE, when you plug it into the iPad via the camera connector /USB an input level slider becomes available, which is not available with the built-in mic.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Hi Mandy, sounds like you've got most of you criteria met now.
Thought I'd mention the Zoom h2n mentioned earlier.

I only started learning to play sax a few months ago but wanted to hear what I sounded like from another perspective other than when I'm playing.
I took advise from the very helpful people on here and invested in a Zoom h2n, it's a fantastic piece of kit can record at very high quality (higher than cd quality ) and can record straight to mp3 format, so easily transferable.

It can also be used as a line threw mic, so you could plug it into a particular or pc, so although I haven't tried that aspect you could play a track from another source and record both the backing track and yourself at the same time and as far as recording level goes you can have manual adjustment via a dedicated wheel or select auto level with 4 presets for different environments.

It's a quality piece of kit and the recorded sound quality is exceptional, I've recorded a live gig before now and then burned it onto cd to listen to in the car and I can tell you, you could tell the difference between a professional recording.

Worth looking at should you decide to upgrade or change your setup in the future.

Rgds Lee.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,560
Hi Lee,
I have a Zoom H2 and, like you, think it's a great piece if kit.
However, the practicalities of recording and then transferring weren't really appropriate on this occasion - she needed something, where it could all be done on one piece of kit- the easier the better (I wouldn't say she's a technophobe, but the less she needed to remember, or carry around for that matter, the better)
I did try it as a through-mic for GarageBand on the iPad, but the iPad won't support it -I got some message about the mic needing too much power (even if I ran the mic on it's main adapter)! Which is why I was looking at something else. Since getting the Snowball iCE, I've discovered that they also make a Snowball Flake -which is designed to clip onto a monitor or laptop, which looks to be smaller and (I'd assume) would work with the iPad.

I'll keep updating this thread as I learn more.
Judging by the very few responses I had when I first posted here, I'm hoping that this type of info might be useful to someone else ?
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Arr, ok. It sounds like you have found some answers and as you say the more information that's collated the more it becomes a benefit to others!

The clip on mics sound interesting?

Rgds Lee.
 
Top Bottom