Quick Ideas for Music Production

Logic Remote as a Midi Control Surface

Logic Remote as a Midi Control Surface

Turn an iPad into a digital control surface and make beats like a pro Some ...
Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice)

Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice)

Introducing three random samples equals endless beat making creativity for your participants Rhythm Roulette is ...
Genius' Deconstructed

Genius’ Deconstructed

Submitted by Mike Lembke www.bgcb.org If you haven't checked out any Genius Deconstructed videos yet ...
3 Quick Songwriting Activities

3 Quick Songwriting Activities

Three proven ways to get participants engaged in songwriting right away  Songwriting and especially lyric ...
Meme Factory

Meme Factory

Sample a viral video to make an original beat - great for beginners who are ...
Dub Club

Dub Club

Two sound design projects that will build your participants’ critical listening skills and creativity From ...
Command Ship

Command Ship

Participants' take command of the songwriting process to make their musical ideas a reality Objective: ...
Junior Producers

Junior Producers

Get projects done by defining the role of Producer, Artist and Engineer. Objective: Participants take ...
The Remix Contest

The Remix Contest

Each participant creates their REMIX version of the song of the week - then pick ...
Sampling the Civil Rights Movement

Sampling the Civil Rights Movement

Expose participants to sampling through culturally and historically significant music Part music history workshop and ...
Quick Mix With Pink Noise

Quick Mix With Pink Noise

Get a quick, balanced mix every time by mixing with pink noise. Objective: Time is money ...
Splice - samples, loops, FX, and presets

Splice – samples, loops, FX, and presets

Submitted by Javier Lozada www.ymcamalden.org Watching this made me realize how accessible the industry standard ...
Demystifying the Studio

Demystifying the Studio

Submitted by Timothy Ballan – www.sbgc.org I stumbled upon a site that breaks down difficult ...
Mastering Plugins

Mastering Plugins

Submitted by Javier Lozada - www.ymcamalden.org and Anders Olson - www.bgcb.org These plugins will mix ...
Makey Makey Beats

Makey Makey Beats

Turn apples, bananas, and muffins into drum triggers - Submitted by Javier Lozada www.ymcamalden.org Looking ...
Target Method Lyric Writing

Target Method Lyric Writing

Submitted by Anne Joseph www.newcitykids.org/jerseycity Anybody having a hard time getting your students to write ...
Logic Pro X Tutorials

Logic Pro X Tutorials

Simple tips/tricks for Logic Pro X that help participants worry about the song, not the gear ...

Music Staff Recruitment Resource Essentials

Great staff = Great program! Everything you need to recruit and hire the best candidate for your music program.

Download Individual Resources (links):

Or Download all of the Music Staff Recruitment resources Essentials:

Recording Studio Orientation Process

Demystify complicated studio gear and get participants making beats right away

What better way to teach all the basics of the recording studio than to have participants create a couple projects of their own?!  Engage your new or beginner participants with a real-world project while they learn the expectations for handling studio equipment and basic music production concepts and techniques.

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How to…

  • Participants complete a Recording Studio Orientation to learn:
    • Studio Rules and Expectations (see following “Sample Recording Studio Contract”)
    • How to use and take care of all studio equipment
    • Basics of studio equipment and their functions
    • How to properly turn on and shut down studio equipment
    • How to set up a basic Logic Pro X project (i.e. new tracks, check levels, and record enable)
  • Conduct a simple verbal quiz to make sure participants have learned the names of all studio equipment
  • Have participants produce two basic “demo” Music Production projects using iPad Workstations or computer workstations following this process:
    • GarageBand project at least 32 bars long
    • Distinct “A” and “B” sections
    • Minimum of 5 tracks
    • At least one track performed live by the participant then quantized (others can be Apple loops)

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First Take Studio Series

Artist development workshop in the style of a “tiny desk” type performance – only one take.

Objective: Develop confidence and critical listening skills

  • “Invitation-only” music production project for mature participants
  • Participants develop confidence in their artistry
  • Develop critical listening skills through feedback and constructive criticism
  • Teach participants how to learn from their “mistakes” and progress as an artist

To learn more:  

Empire: The Business of Music

Being a performer isn’t the only option to work in the music industry

Do you have connections or friends in the Music Industry? Invite them to speak with your participants to help them understand their options when pursuing their musical goals/dreams. Expose participants to possible career paths in the music industry, help them develop a support network and networking skills and encourage participants to set career goals with practical steps on how to achieve them.  

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How to… 

Invite guests from different parts of the music industry or schedule field trips, including: 

  • Performers (i.e. singers, rappers, emcees, DJs, instrumentalists, etc.) 
  • Songwriters and composers
  • Recording Studio: producers, beat makers, audio engineers
  • Music Business: A&R reps, music promoters, music publishers
  • Concert: Tour/artist managers, booking agents, publicists, stage managers
  • Journalism: Critics, bloggers, reporters
  • Music Educators
  • Church worship leaders
  • Radio and TV personalities 
  • Music therapists 
  • Music store managers/staff
  • Equipment/instrument repair specialists

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The Remix Contest

Each participant creates their REMIX version of the song of the week – then pick a winner!

Use the isolated stems and samples from popular artists to unleash your participant’s creativity. At the start of each week provide your participants a Remix template file (in Logic or Ableton) preloaded with with the hook of a popular song. Throughout the week participants work on creating their unique version of the song by adding their own drum beat, chords, bass lines and custom mix. At the end of the week, host a voting session on Friday to determine the winner. 

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How to… 

The Remix Contest takes some weekly preparation from music program staff: 

  • Select the “Remix Song of the Week” (e.g. a popular Top 40 Song) 
    • Search for a popular song with an isolated vocal track
    • Tip – have participants create a playlist of songs they’d like to remix 
  • Create a Remix Template to be used by all participants 
    • Trim to only include about 30 sec (e.g. bridge and final chorus)
    • Edit for beat-matching using the metronome
    • Program/sequence basic chords or significant lead/bass lines 
  • Each participant or groups of participants starts the week’s contest with the same Remix Template

Throughout the week/s:

  • Participants work in groups or on their own 
  • Participants create their own original drum beat including:
    • Choose kit sound/s
    • Snare, kick, and hi-hat patterns
  • Help participants experiment by adjusting the patterns around 
  • Help participants experiment with other sounds, percussion and effects
  • Participants can also edit the basic template chords and bass lines that were pre-programmed 
  • Adjust sound libraries and instruments
  • Add parts/harmonies 
  • Adjust to fit their customized drum pattern
  • Add effects, plugins, and adjust mix
  • Voting session: Host a listening and “Voting Session” at the end of the week
  • Anonymously play each 30 second Remix 
  • After all remixes are played, participants vote by raise of hands
  • Announce and recognize the winner!
  • Highlight/showcase weekly winner on a bulletin board 
  • Optional end of session “Remix Champion” event 
    • Weekly Remix Contest winners go head to head at the end of the semester to crown the ultimate “Remix Champion” (complete with trophy/prize
    • Winner chosen by audience favorite 
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VIP Band Program

Motivate your Very Important Participants to become Virtuoso Instrument Players!

Avoid the musical progress plateau with your participants by motivating and challenging them with an exclusive VIP Band program opportunity. Each week, Junior band participants (age 13-15) and Senior band participants (age 16-18) participate in exclusive Workshops and programs that help build skills in their chosen instrument. Participants in this program are expected to attend weekly instrument and/or studio Workshops to develop their musical knowledge and music technology expertise. They will work closely with their bandmates to build strong bonds with their peers. VIP Band participants have opportunities to play at  higher stakes performance opportunities in the community, developing a sense of pride in their hard work and dedication. 

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How to… 

Participants in the VIP Band Program are divided into two bands.  Each group is typically limited to no more than 10-12 participants: 

  • Junior Band: ages 13-15
  • Senior Band: ages 16-18 

Each week, VIP Band members commit to: 

  • Participating in their choice of Instrument Workshop/s 
    • Attend a at least one weekly Workshop series such as guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals, lyric writing, music production or music business
    • Each participant is encouraged to stick to their chosen instrument for the entire semester but can change their instrument choice at the start of a new semester
  • Expanding their Musical Knowledge 
  • Learn and apply the basics of music (like rhythm, harmony, melody and notation basics) on their chosen instrument
  • Project – Compose an original 16-32 bar song by the end of each semester
  • Participating in Music Production projects
    • Such as “Sound-alike” projects, iPad beat making, Recording Studio sessions
    • Project suggestion – Record an original song with distinct “A” and “B” sections by the end of each semester
  • Joining a band
    • Learn rehearsal and performance techniques 
    • Project suggestion – Perform in one Open Mic night by the end of the semester

Tracking VIP participants’ progress: 

  • Create a poster board tracking sheet
  • Participants get a stamp in the category activity they’ve completed each week. Visually displaying progress is motivational to the participants.
  • VIP’s must have 3 stamps at the end of each week, 12 stamps at the end of each month

Sample VIP Band Incentives: 

  • First to know about concert tickets, field trips
  • Prioritized Recording Session time
  • High profile performance opportunities (galas, fundraisers, community events, etc.) 
  • Opportunities for a music video shoot
  • Monthly rewards, raffles, prizes
  • Music books, lyric books, pick necklaces, VIP-only party (ice cream, movie night)
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Sampling the Civil Rights Movement

Expose participants to sampling through culturally and historically significant music 

Part music history workshop and part sampling workshop – Participants learn about and discuss the cultural/historical significance of each song used while learning how to produce and perform an original song using samples. Teach your participants basic sampling skills, expose them to new styles/genres of music and help them build a foundation and appreciation for where modern music gets its roots. 

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How To…

  • Explore music samples using WhoSampled website or App
  • Import the tracks into a Studio Computer or iPad
  • Use interesting samples to build an original beat 
  • Encourage participants to create their own original lyrics that complement the spirit of the song
  • Post finished tracks to social media websites or host a showcase event 
  • Song Ideas:
    • “I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)” – by Nina Simone
    • “Selma March” – by Grant Green
    • “We Shall Overcome” – by Larry Goldings
    • “Alabama” by John Coltrane
    • “Change Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
    • “Lift Every Voice And Sing”  – by Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff
    • “Oh Freedom!” by The Golden Gospel Singers
    • “People Get Ready” by The Impressions
    • “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday
    • “The Times They Are A Changin’“ by Bob Dylan
    • “We Shall Not Be Moved” by Mavis Staples

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“La Mesa” Performance Series

After performing (on camera) participants autograph la mesa (the table) leaving behind their legacy.
Objective: Build a supportive community of performers with a lasting legacy 
  • Participants develop performance and music/video production skills
  • Participants develop a sense of pride through musical growth
  • Engage your music program’s supporters


To learn more: 


Additional Resources: 

Logic Pro X Tutorials

Simple tips/tricks for Logic Pro X that help participants worry about the song, not the gear.