Podcasting in the classroom

Barbara Freedmanpodcast, student music3 Comments

A little over two years ago, a friend showed me her iPod. I just couldn’t understand why she would listen to an MP3 instead of audio (more on that another time). She explained that she was listening to various NPR shows as she did on her daily bus commute to and from work. That was the first time I ever heard of a podcast.

Podcasting is hot and one of the best ways I can teach my students about the very basics of audio and audio editing. Students sit two at a time in my home made table top recording booth in an alcove in my classroom. I’ve got two AKG C3000 mics hanging from boom arms and connected to an M-Box. They record right into GarageBand and soon Logic Studio. They come up with the copy themselves and I ask them to limit their time to 12 minutes including music. They drop in their music, their friends music or the commercials they have made as a previous assignment. They then have to edit it all together and manage the volume. Forget about the ducking feature in GB! Have them use their ears and automate the tracks. I check EVERYTHING not just for volume and effects but I need to make sure it’s all rated “G”.

We got eight podcasts up and running and more to come this month. Check them out at:

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  • Thanks for the comment! You are right. Sharing music is the main focus. The podcast let’s them share outside the classroom, too. I do Podcasting with kids in my two most advanced classes. They can’t even begin to put together a podcast unless they have two complete compositions in hand they created that year and those compositions were presented to the class and commented on by everyone. I use the Podcast as a way to introduce Audio Engineering. They need to manage the two voices, audio track(music) and any effects track (sound effects, etc.) they want to add. Aside from levels, compression and eq play a big role. It’s really about knowing what they want to hear and listening to what is actually coming out of the speakers/headphones as opposed to what they THINK they hear. in a lot of ways, it’s training their ear much like and ensemble player or conductor.

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