Sample Your Summer

Thank you to Music Impact Network member Gogo Dendy from the West End House Boys & Girls Club for inspiring the “Sample Your Summer” ideas! Also big thank you to Network members Jen Hodges (Notes for Notes), Anne Joseph (New City Kids) and Anders Olson (Charlestown Boys & Girls Club) for their review and feedback on the resources below.

NOTE: Any featured products are based on the experience and opinions of Network members and Music & Youth. We do not receive any financial benefit from the vendors to promote their products. We just thought they were helpful and you might like ’em. 

New to Sampling Projects?

Check out the Video Inspiration Gallery 

Featured Download

“Found Sound” Sampling Project

“Found Sound” Sampling ProjectSend participants on a soundscape scavenger hunt, creating unique beats using field recordings from their surroundings. Get participants to critically listen to their surroundings and use those sounds to create music that is unique as they are. These projects also empower participants to utilize the technology they bring with them everyday in innovative ways, as an alternative to traditional instruments.

Submitted by: Gogo Dendy, West End House Boys & Girls Club

Recommended Sampler Apps

Voice Memo App (FREE) 
Voice Memos turns your iPhone or iPad into a portable audio recorder. Easily capture and share audio clips using built in editing tools like trim, insert, and replace let you fine-tune your recordings.
Garageband (FREE)
You can record (or sample) a sound using a microphone, or add an audio file, and then play it back like a melody on the Sampler keyboard. 
Koala Sampler ($4) 
Koala is the ultimate pocket-sized sampler. Record anything with your phone’s mic instantly. Use Koala to create beats with those samples, add effects and create a track. 
Flip Sampler ($10) 
Flip is a sample-based mobile music studio that was designed for a fast and intuitive workflow. Import your own sounds via AirDrop or the Files app, or record sounds directly with your device’s microphone or a connected iOS interface.
iMaschine 2 ($10) 
Create a beat on 16 pads with hundreds of professional sounds. Use the Smart Play keyboard to add melodies and basslines that are always in-key. Spice up your track with vocal and field recordings or sample directly from iTunes.
Samplr ($15) 
Explore the samples melody and texture using the different play modes and create compositions with the gesture recorder. Samplr is the ideal tool for audio experimentation, music composition and live performance.

Additional “Found Sound” Project Ideas

“Found Sound” Tips for Logic Users article

• Capture and transform Found Sounds into new instruments with these Logic Pro tips

“Found Sound” Tips for Ableton Users

• Classroom project – Making Music from Found Sounds

Dub Club

Two sound design projects that will build your participants’ critical listening skills and creativity. Help your participants tap into their inner voice actor or foley artist by encouraging them to rebuild the audio for short video clips

Community Podcast

Create a community podcast to get youth talking about their experiences from this past year, social issues, music, sports or whatever topic they’re interested in.  Have them interview each other, staff, parents and local leaders in the community.

Need more Ideas for your Summer Programming? 

  • DIY Summer Activity Kit – Fun and unique “Do It Yourself” activities submitted by Music Impact Network members
  • Virtual Summer Camp – Whether your summer music camp is going to be all virtual, in-person, or a bit of both, below are some programs to help engage your participants this summer.

“Found Sound” Sampling Project

Send participants on a soundscape scavenger hunt – creating unique beats using field recordings from their surroundings

Music is everywhere and the sounds in the world around us can inspire an original beat or song. Found Sound Sampling Projects can get participants to critically listen to their surroundings and use those sounds to create music that is unique as they are. These projects also empower participants to utilize the technology they bring with them everyday in innovative ways as an alternative to traditional instruments. 

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How to… 

  • Equipment needed: 
  • Recommended Sampling Apps: 
  • Plan your Found Sound scavenger hunt – Send participants to explore sounds in various settings like:  
    • In your building 
    • Outside or in nature (take a field trip!) 
    • At home or at school 
    • Around town or in the city 
  • Encourage them to go to a location and sit in silence and just listen to their surroundings or experiment by interacting with everyday objects in uncommon ways
  • Discuss and explore different environments and textures and how those sounds will influence the beat and those creating it. For example: 
    • Sounds from nature vs. sounds of the city 
    • Sounds from machinery vs. organic sounds 
    • Sounds made using your body (e.g. stomps, claps, sound effects, etc) vs. sounds from an object 
    • Sounds from everyday objects that played like instruments (e.g. touched, plucked, struck, etc)
  • Consider a found sound checklist – e.g. collect sounds that sound like: 
    • Drums e.g. Kick, hi-hats, snare, toms, cymbals, shakers, etc.
    • Pitched samples e.g. taping on a glass or blowing into a soda bottle
    • Vocal samples e.g. people talking in a room or someone shouting outside, etc.
    • Risers e.g. doppler effect of a car or train passing by, etc.
    • Bass drops e.g. sound of an elevator or engine
    • “Seasoning” e.g. anything out of the ordinary or unique 
  • Load samples into Sampler apps and start creating 
    • Encourage participants to use their creativity to come up with unique sounds
    • Experiment with effects to manipulate the sound (e.g. EQ, reverb, chorus, gates, transposition, panning, reverse effects, pitch correction, distortion, chopping samples, etc.) 
  • Finalize the project with ideas like: 
    • Create a custom drum kit or sample pack and share among youth participants 
    • Write lyrics that fit the mood that inspired the beat
    • Share your participants’ creations! 
  • Optional project: 
    • Consider starting with a premade beat (especially for younger or beginner participants) 
      • Ask them to find samples that sound like the following: 
      • Kick Drum
      • Snare Drum
      • Hi-Hat
      • Percussion
      • Etc. 
    • Replace the samples and play the altered beat 
    • Tweak the mix, effects or record new samples until participants like the sound

To download a full, editable version

Virtual Summer Camp

To download ALL Virtual Summer Camp Resources – Click below:

Or… download individual links below:

Virtual Programming Starter Resources – Customizable templates for Zoom settings, staff guidelines, parent permission forms, sample email communications, and more.

4 Virtual Programming Ideas – One approach for Group Instrument Lessons on Zoom, Virtual Production Sessions, and Virtual “concerts”

Virtual Listening Party – “Open mic” style event for producers, songwriters and instrumentalists to showcase their talents and creativity

Tackling Social Issues in the Music Industry – Use popular music trends to get your teen participants to tackle important social issues 

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

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

To download ALL Virtual Summer Camp Resources – Click below:

Explore similar resources in “Resources for Virtual Music Programming” or “DIY Summer Activity Kit

Advice on Retaining Summer Participants

So your participants had a great summer experience… now what?! 

Does this sound like your typical summer experience? You spent countless hours forming relationships with camp members teaching them to play instruments, record songs, perform on stage and more. The summer ends and you never see those participants again… it’s frustrating! Below are some strategies that have worked for seasoned Youth Development professionals to help retain summer participants in the new school year.  

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Example #1 – Create hype with parents

“We’ve been hyping up school year programming with members and their parents – some just need to be aware that the fun doesn’t stop after summer. ”
 – Submitted by Nick Tetrault, West End House Boys & Girls Club
  • Parents are the biggest asset for ensuring consistent attendance 
    • Invite as many parents into your program as possible during the summer. Invite them to performances, recording sessions and community events
    • Send a letter home to advertise your programs – Highlight the wording “Invitation to enroll” 
    • Host a parent info-session before the summer ends
      • Have google forms ready for enrollment in particular programs. This helps gather data on what resources are needed to prep for the Fall semester (ie. what instruments are popular, how many sessions of a program are needed, etc.) 
      • Create a program brochure to hand out to parents – Design it with lots of pictures, describe core schedule, be sure to include contact information and print it at Staples

Example #2 – Have an exciting and fun summer camp!

“The goal is to create enough excitement during the summer so that they’ll want to come back in the Fall.”
Submitted by Mike Joyce, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester
  • Extend membership periods (ie. allow parents to register for the Fall programming during the summer) 
  • Conduct outreach during the summer ie. social media, local papers, website. 
  • Conduct “inreach” – make sure other staff members are aware of your programming in the Fall – they can help spread the word too! 
  • Schedule orientation sessions and tours for families 
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To download a full, editable version