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Rob Jones

Music Technology - does it help?

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I've noticed a decline in composing standard over the past few years due mainly I think to sequencing software. Do we teach pupils enough about harmony, melody, structure and texture, or do we now tend to sit them in front of a sequencer to experiment?

I'm a principal examiner for GCSE composing and all too often I hear compositions that have a plethora of synth sounds creating a confusing wall of sound with little substance. Candidates who have 1000 or more sounds at their disposal can be like kids in a sweetshop and use all of them at once. How can we address this issue without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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Maybe get your students to compose all of their stuff first on keyboard and get the composition's structure sorted out. Then let them get on the computer to record and "produce" their piece - all the fancy stuff is just secondary as you know, so just make sure your students don't look at their composing the wrong way round B)

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