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Can MIDI be used for education?

MIDI Education

MIDI Education

As we know MIDI can be used for fun and for composing music, but are there any educational benefits? Not surprisingly the answer is “yes”. MIDI is quickly being recognized as an excellent educational tool too.

There are two reasons why MIDI is a good educational tool. First, because the technology is becoming much more affordable, schools and institutions are able to afford the computers and MIDI instruments. Second, the power and flexibility of MIDI allows instructors and students to try new things easily.

Using MIDI to learn how to play a piece of music or an instrument.

Since each instrument in a MIDI performance is on a separate track from the rest, it is easy to listen to (or print out) just one individual instrument line and study it so that you can replicate and play that same part yourself. Plus if the piece of music is in the wrong key, it’s simple to transpose the part to the desired key and continue playing.

The educational value of isolating single voices in this manner is amazing. Imagine being able to select only the flute playing out of a complicated piece of music. Not only can you listen to that part individually, it’s very easy to print the isolated musical line onto paper in any key you desire. This is a wonderful tool for teachers as well as students.

Experimenting with various instruments.

The feature of being able to mute voices goes even further. Perhaps you are composing a new piece or experimenting with an existing piece but it just doesn’t sound right. With the power of MIDI you have the ability to change the sound of any instrument with ease and replay the piece.

Perhaps you recorded it with a flute but would like to know what an oboe would sound like. Easy. Simply use your MIDI editing software and select the voice that you wish to change. Once selected changing the instrument and save your work. Now when you replay the piece it will have the new instrument added so you can judge the effect.

Play with a band.

After practicing by yourself for a while it is always nice to try your skills playing with other instruments. Perhaps you wish to ensure that you can jam smoothly with others, that your playing of a piece is technically accurate, or just want to hear what the piece will sound like when played with a band.

The solution is easy. Select a MIDI file and mute the voice that you personally intend to play. Then replay the MIDI piece as you normally would – but instead, you play the part that’s missing. If you desire, you may be able to record yourself playing and compare it to the master recording and see how close you came to duplicating the part.

 

Record and edit your performance

A MIDI Sequencer is a great way to evaluate your own progress, or even to study how someone else plays. A person can record their efforts and email to transfer their file to you. Once you have their MIDI file you can play it back to find any problems and advise on how to correct them. This is great for music teachers.

If the piece is to be used as is, you can also edit out any imperfections! If you play a wrong note, you can just change it using your sequencer’s editing tools. And if you find you just can’t play fast enough to keep up with the tempo, you can slow it down for recording and speed it back up for playback.

Collaborative playing.

Like most musicians, you probably have a circle of friends that you used to jam with back in the day. Wouldn’t it be nice to get them all together again for old times sake? This may not be physically possible to do with people moving and such, but MIDI and the Internet provide a perfect solution

Perhaps you, as the lead player for the group, could lay down a single MIDI track. Then you email the piece to one of your friends and have them add their track to the file as they play along with you. Then they pass it along to another friend. Soon all of your friends will have added their parts to the piece and you will have a complete jam session recorded without ever having to travel.

As you have seen, and probably found out from experimenting yourself, MIDI is an excellent tool for both educational purposes and advancement of your talents. The possible uses for MIDI are only limited by your imagination.

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