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Rock Your Class With Songwriting Using GarageBand and Soundtrap

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Saturday, December 5, 7:45–9:15 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Linda Johnson  
Shawna Longo  

Learn how to compose your own songs using a simple songwriting process and create original backing tracks using loops and midi instruments in GarageBand and Sound Trap. Learn basic guidelines for aligning core and art content standards in a STEAM lesson that works both in a virtual or classroom environment.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Apps:
GarageBand (should already be built into iOS devices and MacBook)

(Recommended: one time purchase upgrade for iPhone and iPad)

Preferences for session is iOS. Macbook has a GarageBand application, but is formatted a bit differently.

Soundtrap (web based application)

Devices - Smart Phone (Android or iOS)

Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Music, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand
Related exhibitors:
Flat for Education (Tutteo Inc.)

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

I. Participants will learn how to facilitate student connections with between core subjects and music by learning the basic principles of STEAM lesson design

II. Participants will learn how to incorporate a basic songwriting model that is aligned with the ELAR writing process.

III. Participants will learn the basic form of writing popular music and its chord structure
IV. Participants will learn the basics of how to build tracks on Garage Band (IOS) and Soundtrap (cloud based)

V. Participants should leave the session with at least one original song and be able to implement what they learned immediately in their classroom (virtual, face to face, or hybrid).


Overview and introduction. 10 minutes
1. Introduction: Why try Songwriting?
A. Student Engagement, Culturally Responsive, and Accessibility
B. Original songs prevent copyright issues (i.e. changing lyrics to known popular songs) and serve as another access point for learning using STEAM

2. Outline of session.

Songwriting Process. 10 minutes

1. Songwriting process/ ELAR writing process
A. Present side by side comparison
B. Participants will select a topic (from a core standard) and practice writing rhyming
couplets (a gist statement). An interactive Padlet will be provided for participants
to share ideas and share their rhyming couplets with the group.

DAW 30 minutes

1. Introduce and demonstrate basics of Garage Band and Sound Trap
A. Participants will make loops and experiment on devices
B. Participants will have the opportunity to share by either dropping a link to the
presenter or on a separate interactive Padlet.

2. Introduce and demonstrate with guided practice how to use chord structure in
A. Participants will experiment on devices and create basic chord patterns
B. Participants will have the opportunity to share by either dropping a link to the
presenter or on a separate interactive Padlet.

Designed to STEAM 15 minutes

1. Introduce basic STEAM lesson design (includes how to align content standards) and
how to utilize the concept to generate original ideas for lessons and songs.

Lab Time: 20minutes

1. Participants will work on own original songs based on STEAM design idea.

Q&A Closure. 5 minutes

Process: Participants will primarily work independently. However, since SoundTrap is cloud based, participants will also have the option of collaborating with others either during or after the live session is completed. GarageBand can also be shared as a project with iOS users. The presenter will use a Google Site Website to house interactive Padlets, and other collaborative tools to encourage sharing and participant engagement during the session.

Participants will have their own devices to create their compositions on garage band or Soundtrap such as a smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, or laptop.

Supporting research

More [+]


Linda Johnson, Match Studio and Consulting

Linda Johnson is the founder and CEO of MATCH Studio and Consulting where she offers instruction for private music lessons and professional development for Music, Arts Integration, and STEAM. Ms. Johnson has over 20 years of experience as a music teacher with elementary and secondary students, and currently works an Certification Coach and Content Producer for online courses, articles, and professional development with the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM.

Shawna Longo, Durban Avenue School

Shawna E. Longo is the General Music (Music Technology) teacher at Hopatcong Middle School, Hopatcong, NJ. She also serves as the Arts Integration & STEAM Specialist for TMI Education; Professional Growth Advisor, Author, & Coach for Education Closet; and Ambassador for Music First. She is a clinician and consultant for music education, arts integration, and STEAM. She is also a recipient of the 2019 Ti:ME Music Technology Teacher of the Year, 2019 NJ Governor's Award in Arts Education Leadership, 2018 NJMEA Master Music Teacher Award and 2016 Governor’s Educator of the Year for Hopatcong Middle School.

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