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Tired of your kids playing video games all day long? Introduce them to any digital audio workspace (DAW) and you’ll soon notice a growing portion of screen time devoted to electronic music production. Chances are, both of you are going to fight for the laptop!
In this article, we’ll be talking about electronic music production for kids, why they should get into it, and the steps to take in getting started!
Needless to say, electronic music production has great educational potential. Tell a kid they can write their own song and their curiosity will spike. They’ll most probably get confused by all the parameters and instruments at first but will figure it out sooner than you think. Think of a DAW as a sandbox game; the possibilities are endless, all you have to do is create and experiment.
Being introduced to electronic music production, needless to say, will improve your kid’s music theory skills too! Harmony, counterpoint, arrangement, song structure, and many more will be put to use. Get your kid a microphone, and you can then add songwriting to that list!
Additionally, your kids will soon find that collaborating on projects and co-writing songs are too easy to not do. This gives kids the opportunity to learn from each other and develop teamwork skills. You can rest easy though; as long as you have a WIFI connection, you don’t have to accommodate a horde of young musicians in your living room as it’s easy to collaborate from a distance.
Finally, creating your own song can be a huge confidence booster and your youngster will be proud of their creation.
Fortunately, you don’t need a lot to get your kid going. Any laptop or computer will do (the more powerful, the better!). Earphones will do the trick, but headphones will offer a more suitable listening experience. Most DAWs allow you to use the laptop keyboard as a MIDI keyboard, however, it is not ideal. We recommend getting your kid a MIDI keyboard with a few pads, like the Akai MPK Mini. Check out our article on MIDI keyboards here.
As for the DAW, you have a few options. If you’re using a Mac, the free software that comes with your device, GarageBand, will do just fine for any beginner. If you’re looking for a more elaborate DAW, Logic Pro is your best bet. There is a 90-day free trial and the full license is $199.99.
If you are a PC user, Cakewalk by Bandlab provides a great solution when it comes to free music software.
Alternatively, Ableton Live is another excellent choice and is known to have a user-friendly interface. It also offers a 90-day free trial or you can get the most basic license for $99. Ableton also has a free browser-based learning tool.
You can let your kid figure out things by themselves but if you have the time, here are a few activity ideas you can try to familiarize your young musician with computer music.
1. Create a basic set and let your child do the rest
Drums, keyboard, bass, a melody track, and your kid is ready to write their own anthem. Be sure to provide them with a little structure or else you will end up with a 10-minute block that’ll be hard to listen to.
2. Experiment with loops
Does bassoon go well with a house-type beat? What if the loops aren’t in the same key? Allow your child to listen and analyze, and don’t criticize their choices.
3. Write a track in every genre
What instruments are there in country music? Which chord progressions go in a pop song? Kids are guaranteed to love this task and it will give them the opportunity to explore a lot of music genres.
4. Compose for image
Choose an image from a cartoon, film, or video game your child loves, and let them write a short piece for it. Ask your kid what sounds could there be in the image (e.g. wind, waves, animal sounds) so you can download them beforehand.
5. Audio editing
This task can take many forms but here’s one we suggest. Import a short cartoon into your DAW, cut the audio into pieces, mix them up, and let your kid do the puzzle.
6. Play with filters
You can use any song but for optimal results and a lot of fun, use a recording of your kid. They will spend hours trying to make their voice sound silly.
Congratulations, you are now raising a future music producer! Look for music production classes in your city’s music schools or get in touch with a private teacher. And obviously, don’t forget to remind your kid to practice their acoustic instrument.
Anja Drozdova is a Swiss-Russian musician and music teacher. She focuses on finding creative ways to engage students during piano and music theory lessons by using different mediums such as technology and visual arts. Anja also writes electronic pop music under the artist name Mlkshk. Her music is inspired by everyday life, scenes from childhood, and imaginary places, shapes and colors.
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