Stuck for practical music making ideas to try at home? Here are a selection of ideas for children aged 8+ to try. You just need a computer, phone or tablet – all the programs and apps listed here are free!
The Ableton ‘Learning Music’ site will take you on an interactive journey to explore some fundamental concepts of music: beats, notes and scales, chords, basslines and song structure. The ‘Learning Synths’ site will teach you the basics of using synthesizers (or synths). No prior experience or equipment is required, and you’ll learn how to use a synth’s controls to design your own sounds.
From there you may want to explore Launchpad (iOS/iPadOS only) or Incredibox, apps that allow you to select different beats, bass lines, melodies, sound effects etc. to create multi-layered compositions. After you’ve composed something you could try and write some lyrics to fit the music.
Next, try GarageBand, BandLab, or Ampify Studio to build a track from scratch. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube about how to use these apps.
Studio One Prime is the free version of the Digital Audio Workstation made by Presonus, Studio One. It includes many of the features of the paid for versions and includes plenty of loop and sample content to get your creativity rolling.
Sibelius is the world’s best-selling music notation software. You can download a free version, Sibelius First, to compose and arrange music using notation.
Finally, how about improving your aural skills and music theory knowledge? Complete Ear Trainer is designed like a video game; this app will make you truly master each interval, chord, scale, etc. before taking you to the next one.
Here’s a full list of different at-home resources for you to try!
On a computer
- Ableton Learning Music learningmusic.ableton.com – learn the basics of music making
- Ableton Learning Synths learningsynths.ableton.com – learn the basics of using synthesizers
Software (requires download):
- Ampify Studio ampifymusic.com/ampify-studio a drag-and-drop approach to music-making
- Sibelius First my.avid.com/get/sibelius-first compose simple scores with up to 4 instrument parts
- Studio One Prime shop.presonus.com/Studio-One-4-Prime audio mixing, creation, and music editing software
On a phone and/or tablet
GarageBand – songwriting app with virtual instruments, sequencer and easy to use sampler (iOS/iPadOS/MacOS only)
iMovie – make music videos (iOS/iPadOS/MacOS only)
Launchpad – make and remix electronic music (iOS/iPadOS only)
Incredibox – make loops using sounds generated by the voice (web version also available)
BandLab – an easy-to-use, all-in-one, social music creation platform (web version also available)
Complete Ear Trainer – Improve your aural skills and your music theory knowledge