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Liza Field

E-Jay

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I have found using e-jay an excellent way to motivate pupils. It allows pupils of all abilities to access composing - some just using the given samples, whilst the more able to create their own.

I taught this to year 8 for the first time this year as a complete unit with excellent results- after an unsuccessful attempt at a rondo unit with last year's groups. In pupil feedback every pupil said they loved the work and many explained that they felt their confidence had developed. E-jay allowed pupils to develop their understanding of structure and texture, whilst encouraging them to listen to their music and ensuring that it worked as an ensemble. Where many pupils would fail in the performance aspect this allowed them to focus on selecting appropriate sounds and textures to suit their genre. They could then focus on their live performance of the song and think about how to make their vocal part effective.

Pupils were put into groups and their task was to create a pop/dance song. They had to write their own lyrics, make the backing track, record lyrics onto e-jay, add instrumental parts, add a dance routine and then make a video and CD recording.

I would be interested to hear other people's experiences of using e-jay.

:wacko:

Edited by Liza Field

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That sounds like a perfect way of using EJay. Fruity loops is also a nice loop based program.

Unfortunately it is also much misused. I'm a senior moderator for GCSE composing and E jay is a perennial nightmare. We get hundreds of candidates submitting very simple loop based compositions on E jay and the teachers awarding them close to full marks which is a complete joke.

Often these same candidates perform to a high level, so they are being told to use over simplistic software that doesn't adequately display their creative compositional skill.

Liza uses it with Year 8 in a very creative way but for medium and high ability GCSE pupils it surely isn't appropriate

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Liza uses it with Year 8 in a very creative way but for medium and high ability GCSE pupils it surely isn't appropriate

To be honest I was shocked when I read that it was used for GCSE. I did not even consider this and certainly do not think it is appropriate.

Does this mean that people use the given midi samples in Cubasis too? Some of my year 10s asked about this and I was frustrated with them for even considering it.

E-jay is a good tool to introduce simple musical concepts and music technology, but certainly not for examination level.

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E-jay is a good tool to introduce simple musical concepts and music technology, but certainly not for examination level.

We have been using Magix Music Maker with Y9 for film music and dance music/ video projects. Some of those opting for music have asked if they can use Music Maker. My response so far has been yes but only if all the samples have been generated / recorded by the candidate for the composition. All this to be backed up with record keeping in their composition log. I've asked the Board for a ruling but no reply has been forthcoming.

Opinions please?

Trevor Wharton

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I went on an Edexcel course in 2003 when Johnny Martin had just taken over as Cheif Examiner - he also is in charge of ICT in GCSE music.

He expressed concern over numbers of students being enetered with 'compositions' that were all preexisting files but assured us that where the student / teacher could show that they had created the loops then the work would be accepted

Chris Barnard

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Iwhere the student / teacher could show that they had created the loops then the work would be accepted

If students are prepared to spend time creating and recording samples to use in a composition it is similar to a student setting up a prepared piano or a particular set of percussion instruments for a piece. This is a part of the creative process. The software is then a tool for realising what they are striving for and should be assessed as such.

The use of samples from other sources eg existing pop records, has other implications including copyright and originality. If a student used a sample, such as the opening bass riff to 'Under Pressure', would this covered by the examination boards requirement to acknowledge sources of quotations in a composition?

Trevor

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