Digital Music

Digital Music is a sound engineering course using Apple’s GarageBand app. DM is a project-based class. Projects must be done in order as each project helps you develop skills necessary for the following project.

For each project I will be looking and listening for:

  • Exploring interests, passions and skills while making personal connections to career possibilities.
    • You will explain how each project is used in real life and how it does or could apply to you.
  • Designing, creating, appraising and communicating responses to challenges
    • Each project is set up as a challenge that requires you to create music using the available software in order to fulfill the requirements of the project.
      • Your songs and sounds should offer your audience a rewarding listening experience.
  • Working independently and with others while exploring careers and technology.
    • Each project has a real-world application. While completing projects you will learn first-hand the challenges faced by professionals in the field of digital music.

Careers in Digital Music

Digital Music is also known as Digital Audio or Digital Recording or Sound Engineering. Creating and mixing sounds is a lot of fun but it can also be very tedious work. You’ll discover both the fun and the work this year. Digital Music isn’t just a class I teach, it is also a career.

In today’s world, any time you hear a sound online, on television, radio, or when you’re playing a video game, that sound has been digitally captured or created for your listening pleasure. There are several careers within this field such as:

  • digital audio engineer
  • sound engineer
  • sound effects developer
  • jingle producer
  • music producer
  • recording artist
  • post-production editor
  • live sound engineer
  • broadcast engineer

Career Assignment

Using the list of Digital Music careers above, choose 3 to research.

Find out as much as you can about each career including details about

  • what is done on the job,
  • where the work happens, and
  • where you would find the final product.

Present your findings in a format of your choice.

Ring Tone

You will create an original ringtone.

  • Minimum 3 tracks
  • At some point in the ringtone, at least 2 tracks must play simultaneously.
  • Between 10 and 30 seconds long

Sound Clips

You will create five sound clips. For each sound clip you will explain when and why a person would hear this clip. Each clip must have its own unique sound, mood, theme and/or purpose.

  • Minimum 4 tracks
  • At some point in each clip, at least 3 tracks must play simultaneously.
  • Minimum 20 seconds

For example, you could say, “this sound clip is intense and noisy and would be used during a fight scene in a movie or video game.”

Radio Commercial

You will create a 30 second radio commercial for an existing product/event or a product/event of your creation.

  • Minimum 3 musical tracks plus 1 track for the voice over
  • You will perform the voice-over.
  • The music must match the message.
  • Your voice-over must be featured prominently.
  • Your speaking must feature appropriate pace, expression, and enunciation.


A compilation is a nontraditional song made from existing tracks or loops like a medley or musical montage. A compilation does not feature repeated sections.

  • 3 distinct sections
  • One section should flow smoothly or fit appropriately with the next.
  • Minimum 7 tracks
  • At some point in at least two sections at least 3 tracks must play simultaneously.
  • Minimum 60 seconds long

Video Soundtrack

You will create a soundtrack for an existing YouTube video.  This project requires you to focus on timing, theme, and mood.

  • Minimum 60 seconds long
  • Minimum of 7 tracks
  • Can be a song or sound effects or both
  • Soundtrack must match the overall theme and mood of the video.
  • Soundtrack is timed to match video’s changes in action or mood.

The Birds is based on Pixar’s short film, “For the Birds”.

2015 Video Soundtrack Examples

Traditional Song

  • Minimum 9 tracks
  • At some point in the verses at least 3 tracks must play simultaneously.
  • At some point in the choruses at least 5 tracks must play simultaneously.
  • Minimum 120 seconds

This project is like the compilation but must feature distinct sections played in a traditional song sequence:

  • Introduction
  • Verse
  • Chorus
  • Verse
  • Chorus
  • Chorus
  • Outro

Spoken Word Performance

You will record a spoken word performance with an accompanying soundtrack. Your performance will be a reading of a play, poem, song lyrics, literary excerpt, or children’s book of your choice. A rap song can also be used as a spoken word performance.

  • 3 to 5 minutes long
  • Minimum of 10 tracks
  • Background music can be a song and/or sound effects
  • Soundtrack must match the overall theme and mood of the spoken word performance.
  • Soundtrack is timed to match the changes in action or mood.
  • Soundtrack is timed to match key words or phrases from the spoken word performance.

Challenge Project: External Sounds

You will create a short rhythmic song featuring only external sounds. You will use the microphone to capture sounds.

  • Minimum 10 tracks
  • At some point at least 3 tracks must be playing simultaneously
  • Distinct rhythm
  • Steady beat
  • Variety of sounds
  • Minimum 60 seconds

Final Project: Podcast

Your group will create a podcast on Digital Music and GarageBand. Creating a podcast on a different topic or creating an additional podcast on a different topic is allowed. In any case, the podcast must be informational in nature.

  • Informative description of Digital Music and how you used GarageBand to create digital audio productions and how this skill could be used outside of school.
  • Theme song to open and close your podcast
  • Appropriate music and sound effects throughout
  • Audio examples to accompany your information
  • 5 minutes long

Podcasts on Brains On!