Resources for Virtual Music Programming

Please send resource recommendations to info@musicimpactnetwork.org

Page Updated – Wednesday May 27, 2020


Virtual Programming Starter Resources

Customizable templates for recommended Zoom settings, staff guidelines, parent waivers/permission forms, sample email communications and participant guidelines.

Recommended Zoom Settings and Staff Guidelines
9 Steps to Set up your Zoom account and helpful staff guidelines

Sample Staff Guidelines for Virtual Programming
Simple Staff Guidelines when conducting Virtual Programming on Zoom

Sample Parent Consent Using Google Forms
Customize your own parent consent form using Google Forms

Sample Email Templates for Virtual Programming
Email Templates to efficiently communicate with Parents/Guardians

Participant Guide for Zoom Meetings
Practical help for your participants who are new to Virtual Programming

4 Virtual Programming Ideas
Members of the music staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston describe their approach for:

  • Group Instrument Lessons on Zoom
  • Virtual Music Production Sessions
  • Virtual Jam “Round Robin” Session
  • Instagram Live “Takeover” Concert

Recommendations on how to properly clean and disinfect your program area and music instruments: 


Virtual Programming Ideas and Resources

 Virtual Programming Ideas

Virtual Group Lessons (Zoom, etc)
Tutorial on how to set up virtual group lessons for any instrument 

Instrument Loaner Program
Resources (Recommended Equipment list and sample parent permission form) to help you set up an instrument Loaner Program.

At Home Resources

Advanced
Berklee Pulse
Berklee Online

Beginner 
Yousician
• Curated Youtube Lessons (ie. Guitar, Ukulele, Piano, Drum pad, Vocals)

 Virtual Programming Ideas

Virtual Beat making/recording sessions (via Zoom, etc) Thanks BuildingBeats.org
Free beat making tutorials and examples of virtual music production projects/sessions 

Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice)
Challenge your participants to a weekly beat making challenge using predetermined samples

At Home Resources

Advanced
Ableton (Free 90 day trial)
Beatmaker 3

Beginner

Amplify Studio
BlocsWave
Garageband

 Virtual Programming Ideas

• Virtual Group Lessons (Zoom, etc)
Tutorial on how to set up virtual group lessons or songwriting sessions for vocalists 

• Cover Song Challenge
Set up a weekly Cover Song competition to encourage virtual collaboration and music making

At Home Resources

Advanced & Beginner
TikTok
Acapella
Voloco

 Virtual Programming Ideas

• Zoom Concert Watch Party
Schedule a regular time to meet up with participants to watch a virtual concert (using “screen share”) Examples: Beyoncé Homecoming, HipHop Evolution, or favorite artists on YouTube. 

Virtual Karaoke Party
Tutorial on how to set up a virtual Karaoke party with your participants (complete with a Google Doc best practice

At Home Resources

Advanced & Beginner
New York Vocal Coaching
Chrome Music Lab
Sampulator
You DJ


Music Making Resources

• Ableton (Free 90 day trial) – Professional level beat making software
ProTools First – Free version of Industry standard software

Soundtrap – (also has a phone App) Collaborate on beats/tracks with friends 

• Bandlab – (also has a phone App) Collaborate on beats/tracks with friends 

IOS and Android compatible:
Zenbeats – Make beats with classic Roland Sounds like 808’s
BlocsWave – Loop-based app to explore, create and record your music
LaunchPad – Instantly create and remix music
Acapella – Connect, collaborate and create music with friends who love to sing and play instruments.

IOS only:
Beatmaker 3 – Professional DAW powered by a mobile device
Garageband – Turn your iPad, and iPhone into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio
Reason Compact – Your pocket music studio
Reason Take – Record your ideas anywhere… just Sing, hum, rap, or strum.
“Drop a Beat” Apple App Story – Collection of other popular music making Apps for IOS

Android only:
Best Music Making Apps – Collection of other popular music making Apps for IOS

Mobile Permission – Send Permission Slips to Parents’ cell phones
Bloomz – The #1 App for All Your Classroom Communication
• Remind – Communication for the school, home, and everywhere in between.
Crew – The connected frontline workplace


Professional Development Resources

Music Impact Network – Free program resources for after school music programs
Groove3 – Pro-quality Recording studio video tutorials

Henny Tha Bizness – Professional iPad music Producer
• Genius Deconstructed – How to make a hit with the industry’s top producers
• Pensado’s Place “Into the Lair” – Engineering and Mixing Tutorials with Dave Pensado


Please send resource recommendations to info@musicimpactnetwork.org

Creative Virtual Programming Ideas

Rubik’s Cube Beat

Check out this cool Rubik's Cube Beat put together by Will, our Music Clubhouse Coordinator. You can tap into your creative side at home too. For you it might look like creating your own beat, like Will did, or it could be drawing, writing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, cooking or any other form of expression you choose. Let us know in the comments how you're tapping into your creative side.

Posted by West End House on Monday, March 30, 2020
BGCD At Home Announces The Masked Singer!

BGCD At Home is excited to announce our very own version of The Masked Singer! Episodes will be posted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm on both our Facebook and YouTube pages. Members and families have 24 hours to vote/comment on who they think lost and the loser will need to reveal themselves the next day. See you for the premier tomorrow at 8pm! #WeAreDorchester

Posted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester on Monday, March 30, 2020
BGCD At Home: The Masked Singer (Episode 1)

BGCD presents Episode 1 of our new series, The Masked Singer! Who do you think lost this round?You have 24 hours to vote and that person will have to reveal themselves! #WeAreDorchester

Posted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Logic Remote as a Midi Control Surface

Turn an iPad into a digital control surface and make beats like a pro

Some participants can be intimidated by the recording studio equipment and process.  Empower them by using a tool they are comfortable – iPads and Logic Remote can be used as a control surface to make beats and help participants take control of the recording process.  Whether they’re using the transport to record themselves from within the vocal booth, using the iPad as a “second screen” to multitrack mix in the control room, or using the iPad to program drum beats and chord progressions, Logic Remote is a versatile way to make the recording process more accessible to everyone!

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How to… 

  • Download Logic Remote on iTunes App store (this is a Free App) 
  • Launch your Logic Session and pair Logic Remote to your computer (must be on the same network) 
    • FYI: Logic Remote also works with Garageband 
  • Use your iPad as a “second screen” or a “midi” control surface for your session using these helpful features (and more): 
    • Beat making/songwriting: 
      • Drum Pads – digital trigger pads are a tactile way for participants to program in their kick and snare tracks. It also has a “Kits” view which is more visual drum set
      • Note Repeat – perfect for creating authentic sounding trap music “sprinkler hi hats”
      • Chord Strips – Similar to “Smart Chords” in Garageband, this is an easy way to write chord progressions.  Participant can focus on quickly getting their ideas fleshed out without having to worrying about music theory 
      • Keyboard – copying the root motion of the Smart Chords progression, participants can easily add a bass line or synth layers. It also has “Fretboard” features if you prefer
    • Navigation and Mixing:
      • Key Commands – Frequently used recording functions like: Recording Transport, Save, New Track, Automation, etc
      • Mixer – great way to add a “second screen” that gives participants a tactile way to move digital faders during mixing/mastering
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Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice)

Introducing three random samples equals endless beat making creativity for your participants

Rhythm Roulette is a great way to get participants experimenting with making electronic music by getting over the initial hump that’s always the most challenging… “where do I start?!” Getting a project off the ground is always difficult, but being forced to build around a particular sample or sound can be a great springboard for creativity. There are lots of different ways to use the idea of a “Rhythm Roulette” in the studio, and they can be tailored to different ages and experience levels – below are just a few examples.  

In Addition… 

  • This program is based off of the Rhythm Roulette | Mass Appeal Youtube series. To understand how this program works, you have to first understand the rules of the Rhythm Roulette: #1 – Find a record store, #2 – Blind-fold producer, #3 – Pick 3 random records, #4 – Make a beat by sampling 

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How to… 

  • The basic concept is… Grab random samples or loops from sound libraries (like Splice or Apple loops) and help participants make a beat using all three samples. FYI: This is a great way to introduce and utilize a Splice Sounds account
  • For beginners: 
    • Grab a 4 bar instrumental loop (or chord progression) 
    • Each participant (and instructor/s) creates their own drum beat to go with the loop/progression 
      • Don’t let participants listen to each others tracks while they’re making them
      • Keep the activity short and sweet – have participants only build a 4 bar drum track
      • Encourage participants to experiment with elements such as: Drum kit libraries, Tempo/BPM, Dynamics, Mute/unmute, Panning, Effects, Layering, Etc. 
    • Everyone plays their track (over a PA speaker), listens and compares what they came up with
    • Discuss how different grooves and feels can make the same sample sound completely different.
      • For example: A loop with a 4-on-the-floor feel vs. a trap feel
  • For more advanced participants: 
    • Choose three random loops and/or samples (Splice or Apple Loops) 
    • Challenge participants to make a beat (in 30-60 minutes) that includes ALL three loops/samples
    • Introduce more advanced concepts like: 
      • Matching key signatures (Ie. show how some samples won’t work well together because they are in different keys or tonalities)
      • Tempo and beat matching 
      • Groove and feel (ie. Swing vs. straight) 
      • Dynamics
      • Effects and filters 
      • Classic drum sounds (ie. Acoustic, electronic, 808’s, lo-fi, etc) 
      • Etc. 
  • Variation for teens: 
    • For teens, before we make any beats, I show them the “I played a show using only the 1991 Casio Rapman” video from Adam Neely’s YouTube channel. This video introduces a topic that is relevant to the activity ie. how limitations can sometimes inspire creativity
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Practical Tips on How to Address Inappropriate Language

Five ways to clean up inappropriate language that you’ll swear by!

It’s natural for participants to want to imitate the music they listen to when they first start out recording or performing. In the context of a youth development music program however, the language and content of these songs aren’t always appropriate.  This resource provides several approaches to encourage participants to expand their vocabulary and develop opportunities for growth and maturity including knowing your audience, assigning professional studio roles, rewriting lyrics, “three strikes” rule.  

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Example #1 – Know Your Audience

“I talk to my students about knowing your audience and the value you get for being flexible. Most times my rappers just want to swear for shock value and because it’s easier than writing how you feel. I just take the time to have a conversation with them and explain the most versatile artists get more gigs, radio play, opportunities and at the end of the day… more dollars!” – Submitted by Corey DePina, Zumix
  • Ask participants – “How many cuss words can you think of using when you’re angry?” 
  • Then open www.thesaurus.com and look up and explore the word “Angry” 
  • It might also be helpful to also show participants www.rhymezone.com or other rhyming dictionaries 
  • Help participants understand the limits of using typical cuss words versus other words that may expand their vocabulary, set them apart, and better explain their emotions 

Example #2 – Assigning Professional Studio Roles 

“Younger participants sit-in on sessions with my older teens who are assigned traditional studio roles to make our studio feel more professional. They’re responsible, trusted and naturally influence younger participants and teach them our rules and if not, I can always step in when there’s inappropriate content. I use this as a  teachable moment to have open conversations and help create mindfulness.”   Submitted by Javier Lozada, Malden YMCA
  • Assign professional Studio Roles
    • Artist – Typically a vocalist (singer or rapper) recording over a pre-recorded track 
    • Producer – Participants who are interested in using technology to create beats using virtual instruments
    • Engineer – Participants who are more interested in the “behind the scenes” technical aspect of recording like setting up sessions, microphones, mixing, and using effects
  • Clearly establish the rules of the studio including language expectations 
  • Help older teen participants mentor younger participants on studio rules and expectations 
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Music Producer Reward System

Participants earn studio privileges while improving their producing skills!

The Music Producer Reward System motivates participants to learn more in the studio by creating 3 levels of “Producers”. As participants advance, they learn studio software and techniques and “level-up” to earn additional studio privileges.

How to…

  • First, set up various levels of Music Production workstations and/or studios in your program space.
  • Participants start on the basic setup and “level-up” to more sophisticated studios as they learn more skills. For example:
    • “Studio A” – iMac or iPad Workstation equipped with Garageband (Headphone based)
    • “Studio B” – iMac Workstation with Logic and basic interface/mic setup (with speakers) located inside of a practice room
    • “Studio C” – Professional level project studio, complete with Logic/ProTools, Isolation booth, and your program’s most advanced recording studio equipment
  • Determine what skills participants must demonstrate in order to gain access to each studio. Print and display the requirements for each level of “producer” (Sample levels are provided below)
  • Create an incentive chart to visually track and help motivate participants’ achievements. Regularly post and update the names of each “Co-Producer”, “Producer” and “Executive Producer”

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Genius’ Deconstructed

Submitted by Mike Lembke www.bgcb.org

If you haven’t checked out any Genius Deconstructed videos yet – get on it! “The Making of Thank U, Next” is great to share with kids and helps us remember that making music is really about having fun and sharing an emotional connection with friends, artists, and fans!

Stay up to date with the latest music trends. Below is Genius’ Deconstructed series YouTube Playlist

Genius’ Deconstructed YouTube Playlist

Target Method Lyric Writing

Submitted by Anne Joseph www.newcitykids.org/jerseycity

Anybody having a hard time getting your students to write songs? Well, for me, the Target Method really helps my kids with getting words onto paper and allowing creativity to flow. I used this method with my class, and we won the Little Kids Rock songwriting contest in our age group and category!

First you start off by drawing a 3 ring target. The most inner ring is where you write the topic of the song i.e. Food, The Beach, Love, Friendship, etc.
Then in the middle ring, you ask your students to call out words that first come to mind when you say the topic word (food) i.e. greasy, delicious, plenty, fruit, snacks, junk, tasty, fried, chips, baked.
After establishing those words, you then choose out of that middle selection one word (i.e. baked) to then expound upon in the last ring i.e. cake, dessert, apple pies, sweet, brownies, cookies, filling.

Now, you have a whole bank of words, that you came up with as a class. You task your students to write 2-4 lines using the words on the board. After some time, the students present their 2-4 lines with a melody they have come up with, or some students may rap their lines. As the teacher, you discern which melody is catchy, simple, and easily played. You also establish the notes that are being sung/played, the rhythm, beat, & the tempo.

A student’s example could be:
Thinking about food gets me hungry all the time
The grease, the taste of it is now on my mind
Chips, brownies, cakes, I would choose
Even though my mom says “Eat more fruit!”

Give it a try! And if there are other methods you use to get your kids to start writing, please let me know!

Example “Target Method Lyric Writing” 

Makey Makey Beats

Turn apples, bananas, and muffins into drum triggers  – Submitted by Javier Lozada www.ymcamalden.org

Looking for a new way to engage young participants?

Here at the Everett Studio Clubhouse, we use the Makey Makey as a way to introduce young participants into thinking about rhythm and grooves without being intimidated by the interface provided by the usual midi controller + DAW. In a sense, it provides a distraction from the pressure they may feel to “get it right” in the first try. We like to redefine lunch table beats and the use of Apple products by setting up the Makey Makey kit during their lunchtime and use the food items they are currently eating as pieces of a drum kit. The aesthetic of the kit is what usually draws young participants in to participate even if they have never shown interest in the music program. This also helps them develop 21st-century skills when they have to use logic and their knowledge in science to figure out what items could be conducive or how to wire the Makey Makes in a way that makes sense!

Items required:

  • Computer
  • Makey Makey Kit ($50)

The Makey Makey kit comes with proprietary software which lets you use it as a virtual instrument but here we like to use NI Battery or any other software samplers in order to be able to use custom samples which are more relatable and appropriate for the genres they are used to.

Warning: High Schoolers may love it too


Update: Using a Makey Makey kit + Logic’s musical typing I was able to pair it up with a sampler and use custom samples