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iPad lesson guide: Bringing the class together with music

With some children now returning to school but social distancing procedures needing to be followed, classrooms are going to feel very distant from one another. This is going to make collaboration more difficult, but we’re going to show you iPad can bring the whole class together for a music lesson safely.


Conal Siddall

In this iPad lesson guide, we’re going to look at creating a musical piece with a classroom of early learners (while still maintaining social distancing measuring). Students will learn how to combine drums, melodic instruments and use pre-recorded loops to build short songs. This guide is made using tips from the Everyone Can Create Teacher Guide for early learners (page 78) and is appropriate for key stage 1 students.

This lesson will support national curriculum objectives for key stage 1, including music:

  • • Experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Plus, a key stage 1 computing curriculum objective:

  • • Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content.

As your students cannot share devices, this project will need a class set of devices. But don’t worry, students will still be able to collaborate with the easy sharing tools on iPad.


Step one: Show your students how to use each instrument

To make a song, you need a beat and a melody. Instruments like bass and drums provide the beat, while piano and keyboard can provide a melody. Combining these will make a song.

In the GarageBand app, there are easy to use instruments that automatically play chords. This makes it easy for young students to create great sounding music that’s in time, which is a great learning experience for students who have no prior experience or skills with music.

To get started, open the app and tap the Create Document button or Add Song in the top right.

Now you’re going to want to explore the various “smart” instruments available. Swipe to guitar and select Smart Guitar from the menu. Now make sure the chords button is selected and ask students to experiment with the way different chords sound. To help them get used to playing a melody, you can ask your students to play a simple two-chord pattern and record themselves going back and forth between the chords.

Smart Drums is slightly different, you simply drag the instrument you want playing onto a checkerboard and it will play it with different volume and complexity depending on where you place it.

Give students time to explore with the different instruments available so students can find out which they enjoy playing.


Step two: Combine instruments to make and record a song

Split your students into bands with three or four members. These groups will combine to build a song using the same chords and their own creativity.

·      Ask students to choose an instrument: strings, keyboard, drums or guitar.

·      Turn on Autoplay.

·      Compose a song using the C, F, and G chords (or any you choose).

·      Ask the drummer to experiment with different instruments in different orders.

·      Ask individual students to hit record and play their chord pattern.


Step three: Sharing and editing your songs

When your students are finished, ask them to save and name their songs. Then ask them to share their recording over AirDrop to each student in the band. Every student should then have each other’s recordings.

Now to combine these into one song: In tracks view you can tap the recorded track, select copy, then navigate to the other saved recording and paste in the track below. This will add the new recording as a separate track below the original. Do this for all the parts and your students should have a song made up of each instrument.

Students can now use the track settings button in the top left menu to mix their tracks by adjusting the volume. They can also use the FX panel to change the way their songs sound just like a DJ would, they’ll need to hit record while playing back the song to add the effects from the FX panel to the song.

Now they can name and save the final songs ready to share with the class!


We can help you use iPad in the classroom

Our certified education trainers can help you use the Everyone Can Create Guide as part of your curriculum. With a greater focus on both creativity and technology, iPad is the perfect tool to bring new ideas to the classroom. Get in touch with our team to find out more, or download our comprehensive training guide for workshops to support your teachers and leadership teams.


Want to get started yourself? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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