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Technology and Music - Bringing the Beat to the Makerspace

Sam Link
Oct 16, 2019


As covered in my last blog, I’m having to take a break from playing strings due to health reasons, so I’ve been working on my voice. That’s going well, and the best thing is you can sing anywhere. I mean, some places you can only sing once before they politely remind you that this is the McDonald’s drive-through and an aria on McNuggets is neither necessary nor desired, but you don’t need to carry an instrument when the instrument is your body.

The trade is that when the instrument is your body, you have to let it rest sometimes, and frankly life without a musical outlet is pretty unbearable.

Fortunately, we have the technology. We can make music better, faster, and more mobile than before.

Whereas I’m used to traditional musical techniques – I spent hours in jazz band practices and choral rehearsals – to paraphrase many a hip-hop musician, I also value time in the Lab. Whereas digital audio workstations were once the realm of high-end studios, I carry one around in my bag at all times on my tablet, alongside a more traditional composition program. Whenever I have downtime, I can work on music theory, chord progressions, or just sequencing a sick beat.

Alongside the normal array of 3-D printing, CNC machines, and computer for design we have in the Columbia County Library Makerspace, we also have guitars and basses available, as well as an electronic drum kit and a digital keyboard, the latter of which can be connected to a computer to function as a MIDI controller.

In upcoming blogs, I’ll be discussing two pieces of free software which you can use to arrange and create your own music – MIDI controller or not. One is aimed towards electronica and modern production, the other towards arranging for traditional groups, and both excellent for refining your musical skills.