Music Technology Lessons © K. Garrett
The 2nd through 5th Grade students receive one 40 minute lesson per week.
SoundTree provided a microKORG
to the Music Technology Lab at Central Park School for
the 2003-2004 school year. Our PTA purchased the synthesizer for us at the end of the school year. The microKORG is a synthesizer
offering a variety of tools for performers, producers,
computer musicians and beginners alike. The microKORG
delivers modeling synthesis, vocoding, real-time control,
on-board effects, and external audio processing. The
microKORG’s 37-mini-key compact chassis also makes
it ideal for the musician or DJ working in a limited-space
Students at Central Park using the vocoder for the first time will leave saying "so THAT'S how it's done!"...in reference to sound effects in contemporary songs on the radio. Thank you to the Central Park PTA for purchasing the microKorg for our lab in May, 2004!
* To learn the definition and characteristics / features of
a synthesizer / vocoder.
* To learn how to connect the synthesizer to speakers and the
* To learn how to record the sounds and their voices into the
computer using software and the synthesizer.
* To continue the study of sound waves and applications through
a synthesizer / vocoder.
* To continue Lessons in Music Ace 1 and Piano Lessons in the
Alfred Basic Piano Lesson Book (individual progress).
Alfred 1A Piano
Books, Music Ace 1, keyboards and related equipment, computers
(with or without Internet access), printer, computer microphones,
microKORG keyboard, audio editing software.
SoundTree / Korg provided a microKORG to the Music
Technology Lab at Central Park School for the 2003-2004 school
year. The microKORG is a synthesizer offering a variety of
tools for performers, producers, computer musicians and beginners
alike. The microKORG delivers modeling synthesis, vocoding,
real-time control, on-board effects, and external audio processing.
The microKORG’s 37-mini-key compact chassis also makes
it ideal for the musician or DJ working in a limited-space
Articles and other resources about using these instruments in education are available through The Resource Guide from SoundTree. One of our lessons using a synthesizer included making a recording of the Central Park Creed using the vocoder. (A version of the Creed is posted at the bottom of this page.)
Describe and demonstrate the features of the microKORG and how to connect the cables for various recordings.
- an instrument that generates sound by the creation and manipulation
of artificial waveforms.
Vocoder - see (Brief
should review the definition of a sound wave and how it is
used in computer applications. Notice the sound waves in the graphics
below. Students will use the microphone (to vocoder) to record
their voices into the Data Becker Music Live program on the
computer. Adjust the volume as needed. Let each student record
their voice using the microKORG vocoder. They can experiment
with the sound by changing the knobs on the keyboard for modulation,
pan, attack, reverb, release, etc. The student should save
their work in My Documents. Teach the students how to save
the file as a wav (wav) file, then as an MP3 (.mp3) file.
If there is a problem with the volume being too loud as it
is recorded into the computer, an inexpensive audio mixer
can be used. The MP3 format will have to be used on the Internet
because it takes up much less space than a wave file. Students
need to write down the settings that they
used on the microKORG so they will remember their favorite
sounds the next time they use the synthesizer.
- (Waveform) - The shape of a sound produced by an oscillator
that determines the timbre of the sound. Waveforms include
sine, pulse, sawtooth, square and triangle waves. (Sound Wave)
- the shape of a sound, which can be described by showing
it on a graph. When something vibrates, variations in air
pressure create vibrations and are transmitted as a sound
wave. Different sounds have different shaped waves. If you
have a recent version of the Windows Media Player, you can
set it on 'Bars and Waves - Scope' to see the sound waves
as you would using an oscillator (see graphic below).
FX Examples Using the Vocoder (MP3 Format):
Central Park Creed 305 KB MP3 (Audio Software and the microKORG used to record this MP3)
Central Park Music Technology Class 165 KB MP3 (Audio Software Wave File Graphic Below)
Central Park Music Technology Class 33 KB MP3 (Wave File Graphic - Bars and Waves - Scope)
to discuss with students:
* What is a synthesizer?
* What is a vocoder?
* What does the vocoder do to your voice?
* What device do you need to get your voice into the
* Do any of the sounds made with the vocoder sound like
something you have heard on the radio recently? Examples?
* What kinds of things happen to a sound when you adjust
the knobs for reverb, attack, release, resonance, modulation,
* Does the synthesizer record your song? If not, how
do you record the sounds from the synthesizer?
* Compare two or more sound waves that you record into
the computer. Notice the visual shapes of the sound
waves. What kinds of shapes are made depending on the
sound, volume, etc?
* Can you connect other devices with sounds to the synthesizer?
* Can you record multiple sounds from the synthesizer
into the computer to make a song? At once or separately?
* What kinds of careers today involve use of synthesizers?
(i.e. D.J.'s, recording studio engineers and effects
* What are your favorite types of sounds and effects
on the synthesizer?
* Why can you find so many MP3's on the Internet now
and less wave files? (i.e. SIZE of the files)
Music Ace 1 - Students will continue to progress at
their own pace through the lessons on the computer. Teacher
will assist with students and their questions.
Basic Piano Book 1A - If time allows,
work individually on pages as assigned, with assistance
and demonstration of notes and technique by the teacher.
for additional information on: 1) sound waves and shapes
on the Internet; 2) synthesizer patches or sounds to be
used on the computer; 3) early model synthesizers; 4) the
creators of synthesizers; 5) how synthesizers are made /
* Work on musical skills through some of the quizzes and games on the Music Tech Teacher Quizzes and Games pages. Choose games according to the skill level of the students. There are several quizzes available for studying lines and spaces, rhythms, and skips, steps, repeats. There are a few 'Flash' based quizzes that use sound waves.
* If students continue to complete the Music Ace Lessons successfully, they might work in the Doodle Pad section, learning to 'compose' their own melodies. These melodies can be saved but not printed.
student compositions on the 'Student
Work' pages of this site.
Book Resource - What's A Synthesizer? 2nd Edition by Jon Eiche
will be able to successfully perform all of the assigned
exercises in the Piano Level 1A Lesson Book.
will successfully complete one or more Lessons in Music
Ace 1, and will print a Progress Report of their work to
give to the teacher and to their parents.
will know how to use a microphone and the vocoder to create
a sound wave of their voice. Students will save their sounds
to the computer and will demonstrate an understanding of
what happens to the sound wave when they use 'effects' on
the synthesizer to change the waveform.
* Students will describe some of the features of a synthesizer
and what happens to the sounds when elements are changed.
* Students will demonstrate how to connect the microphone
to the synthesizer and how to connect the audio into the
"Central Park Pride"
by V. E. Curry, © July, 1999
I know I'm special as I can be, 'Cause I've got Central Park Pride in me!
My mind's a pearl, my aim is high, My goals might even reach the sky!
I come to school, with all the rest, To listen, look, and learn, and do my best.
Respecting my teachers and my classmates too, And of course, myself, in all I do.
My uniqueness is what I bring, And I can accomplish anything.
I've got that power, RAM power! I've got that power, RAM power!
And I've got that pride, CP pride, Down inside!
Sound FX Examples Using the Vocoder (MP3 Format):
Central Park Creed - Synthesizer (August, 2003 - Data Becker Music Center Live and the microKORG used to record this MP3 - 305KB) This is a keyboard that sounds like it is 'talking.'
Original Version Performed by the Students:
(Flash Player - Creed recorded by Ms. Garrett's Music Tech students.)