Explore how to use a Digital Audio Workstation

How to Use a Digital Audio Workstation & Create an Original Piece of Music Discussion

Question Description


Explore how to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) as you learn to create an original piece of music. Accompany your project with a 1-paragraph reflection that reflects on the critical, creative and technical considerations you faced in the production process (see prompts below).

  • This is a really open-ended assignment; there are no restrictions in terms of song genre or style.
  • You must involve your DAW in some capacity through this project. If you use the record function to record yourself playing guitar or singing, at least layer in an additional line using real or software instruments, or play along with a Drummer track.
  • Feel free to draw heavily from the loops library in your DAW. Spend time checking out its huge selection of beats, bass lines, melodic lines, pads, and vocal samples.
  • While you can use loops for a large part of the project, you must play in original material at some point in the song, using MIDI entry or audio recording (singing, rapping, playing guitar, clapping, beatboxing, etc.).
  • If your roommate is the next Lauryn Hill, involve her in the process. You don’t need to be the one doing the singing/rapping. For that matter, you don’t need to include singing at all if you want a purely instrumental track.
  • Include at least one change in texture (i.e., number of layers/instruments playing at a time) for a section of your track.
  • Create form and development. Create your arrangement so that it balances between new material (e.g., verse 1, verse 2, bridge) and repeated sections (e.g., choruses). What will the texture be like in each section of the song? What are the transitions like (i.e., will you include a drop?).
  • Be sure that you’re using headphones for your other instruments and that you’re using good recording practices for your vocal track. Apply normalization and compression as needed to make your vocals sound more professional.
  • Check out the plug-ins. Explore the audio plug-ins (e.g., reverb, distortion, EQ, amp models) that you can apply to specific tracks, or to the mix as a whole.
  • Remember that you need to export the audio from your session–you can’t just save the DAW file and upload to Canvas. To do this, unclick the metronome click track, and export your file (Share > Export Song to Disk) as either a MP3 or WAV file to your desktop.
  • Reflection requirements

    Accompany your project with a 1-paragraph critical reflection:

    • What’s your prior experience making and performing music? If this is your first foray, how’d it feel to create your own track?
    • Tell us a little about your track. What idea were you going for? How did you divide it into formal sections (e.g., intro, verse, chorus, etc.)? Where did you vary the texture of your arrangement and why?
    • Finally, what kind of multimedia project could you see this song working in (e.g., a car chase in a film, a TV theme song, a Coke commercial, a sound installation, etc.)? What do you think are the aspects of the song that are guiding this association?