How I Use It
We started using Soundtrap as an alternative to Garage Band that we could use on Chromebooks. My 6th grade general music class students have always used Garage Band to learn about form, genre, MIDI and manipulating audio to achieve aesthetics. Now that we have Soundtrap, I can do all of that plus more. With Soundtrap they can now collaborate with each other within their class to create compositions and use the text chat to plan their work. We also use Soundtrap to learn keyboarding and for guitar assessments. I have small MIDI keyboard that students use with Soundtrap to learn chords and melodies. They record final playing assessments in Soundtrap on templates that I create and assign in Google Classroom. My Chorus completes quarterly performance assessments in Soundtrap. I record a template with prompts, create an assignment in Google Classroom, and each student fills in their own singing and speaking. The collaborative nature of Soundtrap allows me to see student progress as they work, I don't have to wait for them to submit a final file, and I can give then help or feedback directly in the chat. I also have a group of students working on a collaborative song writing project for an international album. Again, because of Soundtrap's collaborative features, my students are able to connect with other students not just in their own school but across the country or the globe to make music together.
The only issues we have run into are with the built in chat features and with the save and sync features if students are not communicating. Being middle schoolers, it is hard for them to differentiate a chat for working from a chat for socializing like they are used to. With careful monitoring and modeling we have been able to use this feature successfully most of the time. We have occasionally had issues with students saving work over one another in a collaborative project, particularly in the songwriting project where we have 10 students working in one project. The history feature has been helpful when that happens and also making back up copies of projects.
As I mentioned above, Soundtrap has allowed me and my students to do everything Garage Band did plus more. It has made performance assessments in Chorus and in the instrumental portions of General Music Class so much better and easier for both me and the students. It has allowed us to embark on some really cool collaborative work that would not have been possible otherwise. There are occasionally some glitches that we need to overcome but a quick email to tech support usually solves that or at least brings it to their attention. There are nearly daily updates to Soundtrap and my students love to see the new features each time we log in whether it's a new loop, a new MIDI instrument, or a new visual feature.