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Create music at Ruth E. Dickinson branch

Photo of music editing station, with music keyboard, Mac Pro, monitor and accessories.
14/05/2018

If you’ve been to the Teen Zone of Ruth E. Dickinson branch lately, you may have noticed two large desks with music keyboards on them. These are a pilot project at OPL to allow teens (or anyone with a library card) to reserve them for up to two hours at a time to experiment with digital music creation.

Each keyboard is connected to a Mac Pro computer with specialized music software:

  • GarageBand

    • The fun and easy-to-use software that ships with the Mac Operating System for creating music and mixing demo recordings.
  • Ableton Live
    • Popular software for creating Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
  • Logic Pro X
    • Professional-grade music software, with an interface similar to GarageBand’s.
  • MuseScore
    • An open-source music notation program for creating sheet music.

You can reserve the stations online through the website (https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/equipment). When you arrive you can use your library card to borrow a box of accessories, including a keyboard, mouse and headphones. (Included is a headphone splitter jack if you want to experiment with a friend – although they’ll have to bring their own headphones.)

The software includes hundreds of digital instrument samples – from synthesizers to clarinets – so you should be able to let your imagination roam free and create anything from a string quartet to grunge rock. Alas if you’re a guitar player you’ll need to brush up on basic keyboard skills, as we haven’t provided an instrument interface. And similarly we don’t have a sound studio for live recording with microphones. Although if you record off site and bring a sound file to your session, you are welcome to import it and mix your creation down to a finished song on our equipment.

When you book a session, you will be responsible for supplying your own storage media (such as a flash drive) for saving your work.

If you’re intrigued and would like to get a feel for the software and for working with the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) format, the online resource Lynda.com offers a number of excellent training guides. Here is a sample of online help available:

Background and Recommended Resources

Title

URL

What is Midi? (web page)

https://goo.gl/EtgdNe

The Midi Manual (title from catalogue)

https://goo.gl/XDutnD

Digital Audio Foundations course from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/9xucXG

GarageBand

Title

URL

GarageBand Essential Training from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/4JG8Nc

Learning Songwriting with GarageBand from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/TQEt1F

Ableton Live intro

Title

URL

Learning Ableton Live 9 from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/3raaXp

Ableton Live 9 Tips and Tricks from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/PUUwo2

Ableton Live 9 Programming Beats from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/FWyUVq

Ableton Help

https://goo.gl/RnD93k

Logic Pro X intro

Title

URL

Learning Songwriting with Logic Pro from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/GhiGfR

Logic Pro X Essential Training from Lynda.com

https://goo.gl/3oYtwz

Logic Pro Advanced Audio Production (book in catalogue)

https://goo.gl/v9bQfM

Musescore Intro

Musescore Handbook available at https://musescore.org/en/handbook

Finally, if you want to get a sense of what you can make and what some of the digital instruments sound like, here are two sample creations, both made with Logic Pro X.

An orchestral excerpt:

https://youtu.be/Bi97xhYakOI

A kind of hybrid 1970’s-esque funk band:

https://youtu.be/hJyQ6Yfbp4g

Soundtrack

Groove