Search Results for "indaba"

May 19 2009

Get your ensemble to listen with Indaba: record, upload and comment

I have often recorded my rehearsals to play back for my choir or band. Then in an attempt to be clever, I’ve uploaded these recordings as mp3 files on the internet and told my students to go listen to what they really sound like.

Often I have no idea if they are really listening to the recordings. Unless I upload my files to a place that requires a unique login, I can’t tell if they are really listening. The value of recording a rehearsal and getting your students to create feedback on what they hear is crucial.

I have upload files to my blog and asked students to comment on what they hear. But I have found a better way to get my students to listen and assess (comment on) what they are hearing.

Since the creation of the first sequencing software, the ability to actually “see” as well as hear an audio file is a huge plus for music educators. And there are many places on the internet that allow you to upload and host audio files for free.

But what if your students could see the audio file you wanted them to listen to? How about having them place a comment at a specific point on the wave file as it appears on the screen?

This is exactly what you can do with Indaba Music on-line. When you playback an audio file that has been uploaded to Indaba Music, the file appears at the bottom of the screen in your browser. So you can hear and see the file as it is being played.
In addition to the visual aspect of each audio file as it is played, if you are a registered user at Indaba, you can actually create a comment for others to see at a specific point along the wave form as it is being played.

Since I have been using Indaba music with my middle school students, I was aware of these unique comment features for audio files associated with their contests. When you upload a file to an Indaba contest, the playback allows others to make comments on your work as described above. Why not use this feature to get feedback from my University Men’s Choir students? All of the guys in my choir understand about commenting on other people’s profiles on Facebook or other social media web-sites. Using the big ideas associated around social media (upload, share, comment, profiles, forums) I created a rehearsal session at Indaba Music.
You can see a screen shot of the process below, or check out the session online here:

If this seems interesting to you, I’d like to hear your thoughts. You can see more about this in a short video I’ve created (sorry about the poor audio…) here.

Are you using social media with your music students? Do you upload audio files for students to comment online? Do you appreciate the value of seeing and hearing an audio file?

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Apr 13 2009

Remix the Noise! PBS & Indaba Music- another on-line opportunity for your students

Many of you know that I am a big fan of Indaba Music and have been creating some some real meaningful projects for my students using their engaging on-line contests with real-world musicians. They are hosting another contest in conjunction with a new PBS documentary set to air this June about the science and culture of music. The following is a letter to the parents of my students explaining this contest and how I will incorporate this project in my classroom. I hope you will consider this unique opportunity for your music students. I will follow up with some resources in future posts…

Dear Parents of Piano Students with Mr. Pendergrass in Periods 2 & 7:


We have been using Garageband and the Mac Mini computers in my classroom to create some wonderful music projects. Up until a few years ago, you needed access to a recording studio with thousands of dollars of expensive equipment to even start the kinds of multi-track recordings your students are creating.


Because of the vast connectivity of the internet, we are able to create and share music with others on a global scale. Up until just a few years ago, you needed a vast network of producers, insiders, managers and other people to get music heard by a global, let alone a national audience. Thanks to Indaba Music ( we are able to share our music with others using their on-line music service.


“Indaba Music is an international community of musicians, music professionals, and fans exploring the creative possibilities of making music with people in different places. It makes finding other people, and working on recording, mixing, or mastering projects easier. For fans, Indaba provides unprecedented access to artists and to the creative process.”



As a class, we are entering a contest hosted by PBS in partnership with Indaba Music. The Music Instinct: Science & Song is a new PBS program (airing June 24, 2009) that offers a new understanding of the power of music. In preparation for this ground breaking documentary, PBS has invited anyone to record an original composition using sound effects found in different natural and urban environments from around the world.

Students will be able choose from over 207 sound clips that they can access on the computer from Indaba’s web-site.

In accordance with contest rules, each student will combine a minimum of four sound clips from the PBS sound clip library using Garageband to create original contest entries. We will then upload these entries to the Indaba Music web-site as entries in this unique sound contest.

The winner will receive an iPod loaded with 200 additional sound effects, and a free online music course through Berklee College of Music vauled at $1,000. The top five will be featured on a Music Instinct album to be distributed on and The top ten, as voted by the Indaba community and the public, will receive a data DVD with 200 additional sound samples.


With your permission I want to upload your student’s entry to the Indaba Music web-site. Each student will have an account created using a special Gmail email-account I have created for this project:

  • Only the student’s first name and first initial of their last name will be displayed on the Indaba Music website.
  • No other personal information will be shared.

  • All emails will be handled via the Gmail account I have set up and come directly to me (no spam for you or your student…)
  • Once their entry is on-line, other students from my class, members of the Indaba Music community, and YOU will be able to listen to each project and vote for their favorite submission.

The deadline to enter the contest is May 4th, 2009, but I would like to upload our entries by May 1st.

You can find all the details about this contest on-line at

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. This is a great opportunity for our student’s to share their projects in a 21st century learning environment.

-Ken Pendergrass

More Information from Indaba below-

Indaba Music contest:
PBS  press release:

About the documentary:
Music Instinct: Science and Song provides a ground-breaking exploration into how and why the human organism—and the whole ebb and flow of the cosmos—is moved by the undeniable effect of music.

This three-part series follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture in search of answers to music’s deep mysteries.

Indaba Music Contest
The Music Instinct: Science and Song, premiering Wednesday, June 24 at 9:00pm (check local listings), is a ground-breaking program that offers viewers a new understanding of the power of music. Music is found all over the natural world and in everyday life experiences. The documentary follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians, such as Bobby McFerrin, Yo-Yo Ma, Jarvis Cocker, Evelyn Glennie, and Daniel Barenboim, to the crossroads of science and culture in search of answers to music’s deep and abiding mysteries.
This is a rare opportunity to interact with an exceptionally creative and well-produced program from a respected organization months before its launch. PBS, Thirteen, and the producers of The Music Instinct invite you to interact with this yet-to-be-released program and create your own dynamic musical language from sound effects found in different natural and urban environments around the world.

To help you explore this world of sound, PBS and Thirteen are providing you with 207 sounds from their own library, each recorded in pristine quality. To qualify for the contest, you must use a minimum of four of the sounds provided (although we encourage you to use more). While original recorded melodies or other material can be used in generating a composition for the contest, all compositions will be judged on the originality and expressiveness of the rhythmic and harmonic use of the sound clips provided.

One response so far

Jan 07 2009

Vote for my kids music projects at Indaba Music before January 10

Published by under indabamusic

If you have been following my blog you know that, the students in my period 2 and period 7 piano classes participated in an on-line music contest hosted by world famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, and, an on-line collaboration music service. Each student recorded an original theme and variation using Garageband on the Mac Mini computers in my piano lab. Then they uploaded these files as mp3s to the contest web page at

The contest is now over, and anyone can go on-line and vote for their favorite submission. The first place winner will have the opportunity to record with Yo-Yo Ma, and the top ten vote getters will get a signed CD of Mr. Ma’s latest album. This has been an awesome 21st century learning opportunity for my students.


It only takes a couple of minutes, and your vote will really help us in this contest. Here is what you do:

1. Click on or paste the following link in your web browser:

2. Look for the icons in this post to quickly find my students who have submitted entries in the contest.

3. Click on the vote button. You will be asked to submit an email so your vote can be confirmed or you can choose to sign-up for a free Indaba Music account (which is optional but worth it…).

4. When the email from Indaba Music arrives, click on the link in the email to confirm your vote. You are done!

It will only take about 2 minutes.

VOTING ENDS ON JANUARY 10TH,  so don’t delay.

2 responses so far

Dec 20 2008

A nice shout out from the good folks at Indaba Music

No school for the last three days here in Seattle due to a snow storm! A chance to relax, drink more than one cup of coffee and a receive a nice surprise in an email from Indaba Music:


My students have finished uploading their submissions to the Yo-Yo Ma collaboration contest at Indaba Music. After I posted my student projects, I posted the following on the discussion board for the contest:

Hello Indaba Music Community! If you are wondering about the recent submissions with profile pics similar to mine at left, these are students of mine who have entered the contest. Each student in my middle school piano class created an original composition for submission to this wonderful contest. I hope you will comment on their work. Many thanks to Mr. Ma, Indaba Music and all the entrants for creating an incredible 21st century learning opportunity!

So look for the icons below at Indaba Music and hear what my kids have created. You have 10 days left to enter the contest yourself.

my indaba profile picstudenticonanothericon

One response so far

Jan 16 2009

Yo-Yo Ma picks two winners in his on-line contest

Published by under indabamusic,yo-yo ma

Yo-Yo Ma Contest winnersWell, we didn’t win, but we had fun participating in the Indaba Music Contest. This was a great opportunity for my students. Who won? A handbell choir director/composer and a heavy metal guitarist! Talk about a broad spectrum of musical styles. Hear the announcement over at NPR.

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Nov 20 2008

Collaborate with Yo-Yo Ma: a great opportunity for your students

Published by under yo-yo ma

In conjuction with on-line music collaboration service Indaba music, you can win a chance to record with cellist Yo-Yo Ma:

In celebration of his album’s upcoming release, Yo-Yo would like to share the joy of collaboration with Indaba’s international community. To get you started, he has recorded the melody of the traditional song, “Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)”. Collaborate virtually with Yo-Yo by adding your own counter-melody or record an entirely new set of variations.

The contest rules are simple:

Download the audio file of Yo-Yo Ma performing Dona Nobis Pacem. Record your counterpoint or set of variations. You can use the Indaba Session Console on-line or your own recording software. Submit your final mix from the Indaba Session Console (or upload it if you used your own software) and submit it to the contest. Then vote for your favorite entry.

When I first heard about this contest from a fellow music educator, I thought for sure there would be several hundred entries on the Indaba music site. As of this posting, there are only 16 submissions!

And after listening to the submissions on-line, I thought, “My students can do this! They can record a set of variations using Garageband and enter this contest!”

So- you have until December 31, 2008 to submit an entry. Look for our submissions soon and give us a vote if you don’t plan on entering the contest…

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