Jam Studio

http://www.jamstudio.com

What is it?

JamStudio is a free music-making tool created by Dave Edwards, a musician and software engineer who wanted to offer a music-making tool for people wanting to make their own music. Users can create music for free without an account, or they can create an account to save and share the songs they create. It is based on Guitar chords, which are simply laid out by letter. Even a user who is not comfortable with Guitar chords can, after fiddling around a bit, figure out how to make a melody using the simple click-to-add method this site uses for creating a song. Users can also choose a Guitar effect and change the time signature.

Pros

JamStudio is FREE! You can still play around with it, even if you don’t create an account. It starts off immediately with an animated tutorial that can be repeated as well as a YouTube instructional video for extra help. It also loads fairly quickly for immediate user satisfaction.

Cons

To be honest, there aren’t many. The only one I can forsee is that many of the outside links are to YouTube, which, as we teachers all know, is usually unavailable. Also, you can’t save your work without creating an account, which can cause problems with younger students who are under 18 and/or may not meet the age requirements for an account (I couldn’t find the age requirement anywhere on the home page).

Educational Grants!!!

JamStudio offers a grant for teachers who want to use the All Access option (normally $10/month) with their students. This allows students to save their mp3’s and send them to their teacher.

Classroom

Use

This online software could easily be used in the classroom with the simple posting of a link to a del.icio.us page or wiki for students to access right away. It could be used by music teachers or by teachers who may want their students to create an original song for a presentation (possibly to avoid copyright issues). Since the grants are available, it’s a great resource for teachers/schools/districts who don’t have enough funds for programs like GarageBand or want something easily accessible anywhere as an alternative to Audacity.

I may try this with my students after we use GarageBand and ask them how the two compare and what they liked/disliked about each.

Jam Studio in Action

I used Jam Studio with a 3rd grade class today and they LOVED it! It actually taught them about music since I had to explain that the # sign meant ‘sharp.’ They quickly picked up the basics. I find that a class needs to use a program like this at least 2 times to become really comfortable with it and get the full value of it.

5 Thoughts on “Review and Overview of Jam Studio”

  • I find some of your review is misleading. You can not change the time signature. Only 4/4 is available at this time. 3/4 is coming sometime. And you can't create a melody. These are more or less accompaniment tracks. However, with JamRecorder (available to download from the site), using a microphone, you can record your own vocals or instruments.

  • Pros: Very easy to use. Excellent sound quality, real instrument sound loops. Many music styles to choose from. Can play 8 different instrument tracks simultaneously, using guitar, piano, bass, drums, etc., each having it's own volume slider to get the desired mix. Fifteen tempos to choose from. Additional loops and ability to save and download as an MP3 with paid account.

    Cons: Only one chord per measure. Only 4/4. Steps between tempo changes are fairly large. Occasional glitches.

    You create pages of music from 1 to 16 bars long. Each page will play the instruments and mix you set up for that entire page. Any changes you want in the song will use another page and you are limited to 5 pages. However, it has the ability to repeat pages by setting up the order in which to be played. For example, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus… could be set up 1,2,3,2,3.

    Overall, It's like having a band at your disposal. Helpful to musicians and anyone who can't play an instrument. It is a useful and fun song writing tool.

  • Thanks for the detailed review. This review was written almost two years ago and was geared toward users in lower elementary, so I thank you for your more detailed review geared toward a more advanced user!

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