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Make a Musical Sandwich with Garage Band!

National Standard:
2. 4. 6. 7. Perform on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music. Compose and arrange music within specified guidelines. Listen to, analyze, and describe music. Evaluate music and music performances.

Academic Testing Support: Objective:

Supports the Connecticut Mastery Tests in critical thinking, assessment and written critique.

Students will compose a musical sandwich using Apples iLife software program Garage Band. Using ABA form, students will compose a 24-measure piece of music including ostinato patterns. Students will perform their pieces for the class and critique each others performances. Students will also write a one-page explanation of their project, detailing their selections and thought processes.


iMac OS X Garage Band & iTunes MIDI keyboard 2 sets of headphones for each station (very helpful, but not necessary) rubrics (attached) blank CDs for recording

Prerequisite skills:

Understanding of ABA form, ostinato, introduction to Garage Band

Differentiated Instruction:

For this lesson, I grouped students in pairs for each keyboard/computer station. (A larger class had two groups of three students.) With a few groups, I placed advanced students together, while with the other groups, one student with stronger musical ability encouraged the other student. Remedial students were placed with regular ed students, benefiting both students academically and socially.

Modifications: Time Frame:

Please feel free to modify this lesson/rubric/critique to meet your specific needs.

Flexible; adjust to your time schedule


Using a MIDI keyboard, computer and projector, demonstrate Garage Band basics that will help students be successful with this project. Demonstrate tempo modification to input their MIDI section slowly while playing back at a faster tempo. Also discuss various instrument timbres and genres my students composed everything from heavy metal to 1970s music to Caribbean steel drum styles! When all compositions are complete, have the class listen to each piece a few times and critique (written critique form included in this lesson). Before playing, each group describes their piece, and explains their favorite features.


1. Students can create longer passages of music, add vocals, special effects or live instruments to their pieces. 2. Students can write song lyrics and have other students perform their pieces. 3. Invite administrators/parents to hear the performances! In addition to being excellent PR, it demonstrates the importance of music technology and the high degree of student learning and excitement about school and learning. 4. Have a competition where students are selected for a song of the week/month. We have a weekly in-school TV program, and students Garage Band pieces are played on the air.

8th Grade Garage Band Project #1 A Musical Sandwich Name: Day: Period:
You will compose a musical sandwich using Garage Band! Using ABA form weve studied, compose a piece of music where ostinato patterns are used. Directions are given below. You may want to write down any cool sounds/ instruments or patterns so you dont forget! Dont spend too much time auditioning sounds. Due date: **Remember to save your work frequently!** 1. 2. You will be assigned a partner and a keyboard/computer station. Open a GB file in your names.

3. Rhythm Track: Arrange an 8-measure A section ostinato pattern, using only 1 or 2 drum loops (pre-recorded) from the Loops Window (Click on the eyeball icon at the bottom left of the screen). Try to keep the loops at the same tempo. Next, arrange an 8-measure ostinato pattern in the B section. After the A and B sections have been assembled, copy the A section and paste it after the B section. You may compose a short tag at the end if you wish. 4. Instrumental Track: Choose 1 or 2 instrumental loops (keyboard, bass, guitar, etc.) and arrange 8-measure ostinato patterns for the A and B sections as above. Keep your composition simple so it doesnt sound cluttered. 5. MIDI Tracks: Choose 2 or 3 Software synthesizer instruments to compose 8measure A and B sections, just as above. To do this, go to the top of the screen to Track, and go to New Track. Click on Software Instruments. Select an instrument family from the left side, and a specific instrument timbre from the right. 6. If you need help, please ask! Each group will perform their pieces for the class. Final copies of your work may be burned onto a CD! 7. Write a one-page explanation of how you composed your piece and why you chose the instrumentation. What was your thought process? Include a oneparagraph critique of the final product: What do you like about the final product? Did your piece turn out the way you expected (why or why not)? What would you like to try for the next project?

Grading will be based on the following: 100% All directions followed. Music has flow and continuity between sections, not just sound effects. High quality composition. Selection of instruments blend well together. Extra features added, such as variations in dynamics or tempo. Well written explanation of project and critique. 93% All directions followed. Music has flow and continuity between sections, not just sound effects. Selection of instruments blend well together. Well-written explanation of project/critique. 85% Most directions followed. Music has some flow, but section changes are abrupt, or instrumentation selected doesnt blend well. Project Explanation/critique lacks detail. 75% Some directions followed. Music has very little flow, too much repetition, or instrumentation selected clashes. Not a very musical composition; sounds more like an experiment of sounds or sound effects. Written critique lacks detail. 65% and Below Few (or no) directions followed. Minimal effort put into this assignment. Music has almost no flow and sections are poorly defined, if at all. Piece is just lots of random sounds, or just pre-recorded loops. Written critique poorly done or not done at all.



Garage Band Project #1: The Musical Sandwich Class Critique

Day: Period:

Listen carefully to each composition as it is played for you. (It will be played a few times.) Please fill out each critique as completely as possible, and write neatly! Your comments will help other composers in our class for their next project. Reviewers Name (thats you!): Composers names: 1. Did you hear ostinato patterns in each section? Name one or two.

2. Did you hear 3 distinct sections (ABA)? If not, what made it hard to tell?

3. Did the sections flow well into one another, or were the section changes awkward?

4. Describe any enhancements, like changes in dynamics, fade-ins, fade-outs, or tempo. What did you hear?

5. Detail what you liked about the piece.

6. What advice would you give the composers for the next project? Please be specific.