Preparing for the next alternative project- the gear

February 22, 2008

I received a call today saying that the rest of the technology order for my keyboard lab enhancement project is on the way! I thought you might enjoy reading about what we will end up working with in the new lab.

Existing Lab: Keyboards (16 stations)

Korg Triton LE

Korg GC3 group controller

Windows XP-based computer (boo!)

Tascam CD/Cassette recorder

New Equipment:

12 AT831b microphones w/guitar mount (for acoustic guitars)

1 DM5ProKit electronic drumset

12 MyMonitor interfaces for plugging into the existing keyboard lab stations (think swiss-army knife)

3 PocketPod amp emulators

1 PadKontrol midi control device w/Reason Adapted, Live Lite 7, virtual drum machine, and a host of effects

6 Silent Brass Systems (2 trumpet, 1 French Horn, 1 Trombone, 1 Baritone, 1 Tuba, 1 mixing board)

Cords n’ stuff to hook it all up and together…

What this will enable me to do:

I will now be able to allow my class to all be in the same room at the same time working alone or in groups. We can incorporate synthesizer, brass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums- and can record, sequence, program, and interact in almost infinite combinations. I can now have a digital portfolio on each student and each group. I can now connect (via the GEC3) groups together to practice their projects and communicate with them and they with each other. We also have the makings of an uber-cool performance ensemble!

We will begin this project during the last 9 weeks. I plan to post my lesson plan/unit plan w/assessments and projects, etc. so stay tuned!

I have also basically quadrupled my practice facility (virtually) for a fraction of the cost of new construction- that made my principal happy!

What I’m missing and on my “wish list”

I’d really like to get an electronic wind instrument like the yamaha or akai so I can let my sax players jam along as well! (I can sort of do that with the AT831b mics, but sort of defeats the purpose of the whole “silent” thing…


New toys- silent brass, pocketpod, digital drums

February 14, 2008

Been a while since I posted, but I’m still alive- seems like I have been preparing for one festival, concert, performance, etc. after another!  Non-stop as I’m sure the band directors in the crowd can attest.  My wife has also been sick, and we are dealing with tests, etc. but enough about me…

I recently got a grant for $5,600 to upgrade our keyboard lab- (subject of a future post) and integrate my “alternative” class with silent brass, line 6 pocket pods, Alesis digital drums, and a cool midi controller that doubles as an electronic drum as well.  I have been working on this for almost 3 months, and Thursday the silent brass came in- I got 2 trumpet  sets, a french horn set, baritone, trombone, and tuba along with a mixer board to tie them all together. When I get it all up and running, I’ll be able to have the class interact without an overwhelming amount of sound in the room.  There is a bit too much to tell here in this short post , so I will post photos/video of the whole system when it is installed.

I also plan to post about the results of the “alternative music” gig- what an experience! Good and bad, we sure learned a lot about what it takes to put a performance together!

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