Poll: If you do music creation as part of the curriculum at your school. What do you use

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Windows Thread, Garage Band for windows in Technical; Hi we in the process of looking at a new suite. As we are a performing arts college, the school ...
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    Garage Band for windows

    Hi we in the process of looking at a new suite. As we are a performing arts college, the school are contemplating whether to go with 30 apple MACs.

    I am trying my best to encourage the school to look at a windows solution due to the fact the school I feel will suffer as we dont have a technician who has knowledge of Macs. We of course could get trained but as you know in any school time is not on our side and teacher will expect us to know everything, which just isnt going to be possible whilst managing another 300 windows clients.

    I have done a quick survey to find out why the arts department want macs, and its for these reasons:

    Adobe photoshop. (which we already use on a windows environment)
    cubase( already use this on a windows network)
    garage band (music creation software)
    i movie( apples version of movie maker which is appartly much more stable)

    Now personally I dont see why we need macs because the majority of that software is avaialbe for windows clients and I know from the budget i have been given to do this, I could buy some amazing top spec windows PC's which i hope will resolve the slowness issue which as you can see from what we want to use is an issue if we dont have decent spec machines. I can see the apple mac equivalent to being about £700. imagine what sort of windows machine i could buy for that.

    So back to the main issue. The only justification I have seen to go for macs is the main reason why it will be used which is for music creation software, the apple version which is garage band is very similar, industry standard piece of software which is much simpler than cubase. the school aim to teach garage band at years 7, 8 and 9.

    What i would like to know is if there is an equivalent windows version of garage band which is also industry standard.

    the CLC's and other performing arts school all seem to be going to the MAC route. I really feel there must be a windows version of this. can anyone help. Our existing music suite as M audio sound cards and I have seen this package on their site which is basically garage band for windows BUT its only available in america.

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Session-main.html

    if anyone uses an equivalent version for windows. It would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    This is a topic im thinking about at the moment. Im very much into music (productions, DJing etc) and i know some relatively famous people in the dance scene (not trying to brag just show i am in a good possition to develop music within our school).

    The problem seems to be 2 things;

    Which software to use?
    Reason, Cubase and the likes have extreamly steep learning curves for someone who doesnt know what the terms gate, LFO, MIDI, compressor, etc mean and sound like... Learning how to use just one synth or sampler even in reason can take a long time - far to long for most teachers, and then for them to teach their pupils.

    Fruitly loops seems a good program which can be easy enough for someone to pick up and achieve a "nice sound", and also advanced enough to make professional productions - i know atleast one person i know makes a living exclusively from FL.
    Obviously cost is a massive issue here so you need to know you are choosing the right software, but with the above problems of the big apps, and the crapness* of most of the smaller ones this is a hard choice to make.

    *Sorry couldnt think of a better word.


    The other problem is; "But we need macs to make music"

    No you dont! What makes a mac better? "Err... coz". Yeah very thought out reasoning. You DO NOT Need a mac, infact in a school you Need a PC as you do not have to learn a new OS before learning this already time consuming software. You also save a FORTUNE which would be better spent on software (vsti's maybe), hardware (midi keyboards, soundcards etc) and training. You also save a fortune in money and time on implementing macs into a windows only domain (assuming thats what you have).

    The ONLY reason to use a mac in this day and age is bragging rights/snobbery. They are not more stable and they are not easier to use (its the same god damn software, how can it be easier to use on a mac?).
    The same mate who uses FL to make a VERY GOOD living uses a PC, rather he uses both PC and Mac (at the studios), but even he says "I cannot justify the price of a mac for home use" and this is coming from a person who can earn more in a week than most of us do in a year!!!

    *Runs and hides before the mac massive see this thread, and start blurting out well reasoned answers like "But macs are used in industry, or but macs look pretty"

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    Rozzer's Avatar
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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    We have found garageband to be a great success in the school i work at. The kids have picked it up so easily. We have also started letting kids get midi files of the internet and importing them into garageband. This means kids for example can take the eastenders theme down and change the instruments. Was a really successful lesson and durring lunch club the kids just always seem to be going on OSx and using garageband.

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Our music dept use Cubase and Sibelius, all on windows machines. Going non-apple, with the budget, they have been able to buy more computers for the price of one mac.

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Garage Band is not 'industry standard' ... far from it.

    If you are looking at the higher end tools on a Mac then you are looking at Logic from the Apple range of Pro apps.

    Part of the benefits of the Macs can be the integration with the other iApps or Pro Apps.

    I still feel that Final Cut Studio is pretty much the best all round package for school machines wanting to do high end editting with video and audio, but you can't get around still using Photoshop for some things in my experience.

    Do we find that there is an increased level of creativity when using Macs compared to similar packages on the PCs? possibly ... but that might also be down to the mindset of the teachers using them.

    I will never say that Macs are the only answer ... but they are a possible answer and in spite of disagreements with j17Sparky, I know that you can produce the same materials to the same standard on PCs. He knows people that use PCs, I know people that use Macs ...

    Also consider that the introduction of a different OS and different applications can help improve transferable skills and that sometimes having 'different' machines for specific task can aid engagement, increasing the amount and level of work that students do.

    For our students ... the Macs have been a success. This hasn't stopped students being innovative on the PCs. In fact it has encouraged them to push the boundaries of what they use either set of machines for. If nothing else that is worth using both (and yes ... there are Windows users users that are just as entrenched as Mac evangelists)

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky
    *Runs and hides before the mac massive see this thread, and start blurting out well reasoned answers like "But macs are used in industry, or but macs look pretty"
    Come on ... a cheap shot that is just trolling. You *know* that some people find Macs easier to use even when using the same apps. The same way that some people find Windows better.

    Up until that I thought it was a good post about the benefits of certain apps on a particular platform ... there may have even been some information in there about educational benefits (which is *so* different to 'industry' requirements!)

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    Re: Garage Band for windows


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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    You *know* that some people find Macs easier to use even when using the same apps. The same way that some people find Windows better.
    Nope. I *know* people *say* they find it easier but asked why i have never yet had a reasoned answer, only "err... well they are better arnt they?" or "they are prettier" - seriously ive had that a few times. If someone can justify their reasons then im all ears but as of yet no one has done so, thus i can only conclude their reason is infact "its prettier" or the snob factor.


    I agree that its good for kids to learn differant OSs but the massive costs of owning macs cant be justified by this alone. Eitherway i was saying that there is no need to buy mac *just* for the music software, i still stick to this opinion.

    If you want macs by all means get macs, but "well you need macs for music" is not a reason anymore.

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    The cost difference is not as large as some people think and yes, I do think it is worth the difference.

    One thing we are doing this summer is introducing Sun Rays for access to both Windows terminal servers and Unix terminal servers. This also goes to some way to pushing more staff and students to learn concepts, not applications.

    As for using the same apps on different platforms ... Photoshop and Sibelius are two that our students find easier. One group started on PCs and the other on Macs. Those using PCs took longer to learn the concepts behind the menu structures and tools than those on Macs. When they had to swap classrooms those who had been using PCs complained. They wanted to know why they had to do the harder stuff first. The group that went onto the PCs weren't bothered ... but when completing work in their own time (after school and lunchtimes) they opted for the Mac suite of their own chioce.

    No snob factor ... no "it's prettier" ... and I can show you many schools that have found similar. I can also show you schools that have found the opposite.

    "You need Macs for music" is not right ... "Some students may find using Macs better" is possible (in spite of whether you think it so)

    Then again ... "You need Windows for a decent Office Suite" is just as wrong.

    Anyway ... back to original question. What Garage Band like applications do other schools use? We have found that using Audactiy and some loop / sound generators can be good fun.
    http://beaterator.rockstargames.com/beaterator.html and http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/.../sdml/sdml.asp are very good but you have to subscribe to them to save your file ... unless you use Sound Recorder to record them (place the mic next to the headphones) ;-)

    We had previously used Dance eJay but that broke so often we ditched it. Strangely enough they then released a 'network' version that could be used in schools after spending 3 years telling us that there were no issues with buying the regular version and using it and that all the problems were our fault because we 'overly secured the machines'. The fact that it would break on any machine joined to the domain including support laptops was in our imagination (their words).

    We do have a few students that still use it an home and enjoy it.

    HTH

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky
    Nope. I *know* people *say* they find it easier but asked why i have never yet had a reasoned answer, only "err... well they are better arnt they?" or "they are prettier" - seriously ive had that a few times. If someone can justify their reasons then im all ears but as of yet no one has done so, thus i can only conclude their reason is infact "its prettier" or the snob factor.
    But there you have it. If the kids say they find it easier, and according to GumbleDook they appear to as well, then shouldn't the simpler solution be provided regardless of whether or not it actually *is* simpler? We are providing the tools needed by the children in order to get the best education so regardless of what we personally think of the tools, it all depends on what they learn the most from in the shortest time.

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Not pupils, just teachers who want new toys

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    Sheesh .. who wants to hhave teachers getting new toys? sod that ... give them an old clam shell iBook if they want pretty.

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    We have found that using Audactiy and some loop / sound generators can be good fun.
    beaterator.rockstargam...rator.html
    What sort of error msg do you get if you try to view this site on a Mac

    (for PC owners please visit the site in Firefox to see what I mean)

    Regards

    Simon

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    An interesting discussion this one. I'm mostly with Tony. Macs do look better (and that's not a dogmatic statement it just happens to be true- that's why they win design awards). But that isn't reason (enough) to purchase them for schools. Our place used eJay on very fast systems for music and then independently went the Apple route. They use Pro Music apps and other things on there and will be integrating with the wider network before summer.

    But they didn't just buy the Macs for the music software. That was a huge benefit- it is slightly better and more integrative than a Windows solution, but there are some very good Windows solutions out there for music production and you will find as many shouting the praises of Windows in this area as you will Macs (and some even for Linux).

    Any school that buys Macs for their aesthetic value are stupid. But if you seriously look at the benefits of the Apple platform and services for schools I think in many cases you could safely justify their purchase for a lot of the subject areas Apple and its software base is strong in- programming, databases, science, mathematics, design (art etc), digital media production- the list could go on. And that is the strength of Apple in industry too.

    But they aren't for everyone. And nor should they be. We have a wonderful diverse world full of software that fits all kinds of needs. One of my favourite bits of software (well, an OS really) is Server 2003. I love it. I think it will be years until Apple beat it. But I love Macs- all my home PCs are Macs! Strange, but true. And so it goes in schools. There's a needed place for all. Tony was bang on- we need to teach principles. That means giving the school a variety of tools that enable education. And I think that includes Apple, Linux and MS Windows. I'm impressed that Tony and his team are introducing Sun systems into the network- I think it shows a willingness to think outside of the box for the sake of education and balance. We need more of that in education, not less.

    Anyway. Music software on Windows is a-plenty. Buy it if that's what you want. But arguments against Apple systems based on loose understanding of the system and/or some bias isn't an argument at all. Apple systems are in industry, science, movies, education and lots of homes. And the same goes for Linux and Unix. They all fit somewhere. Long may it continue!

    Paul

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    Re: Garage Band for windows

    I hope to also shed some light onto this subject. If the learning curve is the main issue then let me tell my story.

    We are based in Sandwell and our closest CLC have mac suites and as part of this suite they have a side loaning agreement thing going on with their closest schools in their area. This means that they come to our school and let the kids get their hands on their macbooks.

    They are at the moment utilising the ilife suite. They have created some good work both in Garageband and in iMove. They have a half day on a tuseday every week and produce a finished piece at the end. One day they captured video of plays they acted out and editied them in the same time frame.

    I say all of this first to get (some sort of) WOW factor. These are Year 3 pupils and as the work rate, even from the lower productive students, was so good, this is the reason we purchased a new suite of macs. We migrated an old (and only) suite to imacs and dual boot. Thus giving the benefit of both platforms. Old machines didn't go to waste, instead replaced the aging and very infuriating (always problematic from day one i heard apparently) in the classrooms.

    I also have just been told that since we have our own mac suite now and that the pupils have done so well that the trial period has been extended and has also now been expanded to Years 4 and 5.

    Just thought i would mention the experience of macs from a primary school point of view to enlighten on the learning curve side of things.

    Implentation into a complete Windows infrastructure was pretty straight forward as well and so far so good.

    But as some have pointed out already, Its good to have options. If something breaks on one there's always an alternative.

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