Music today goes beyond the piano, saxophone and glee club, and Radica’s Ucreate Music machine can turn loops and samples into beautiful music. The small device sells for $35 and lets kids (and music teachers) mix and match various pieces of digital music, distort it, mix it and add a voice track. It can create final works that are up to 85 seconds long that can be saved to a PC via a USB cable, and the company offers a good assortment of samples online.
I’ve found that the music classes that veer off from traditional orchestral and band pieces are the most successful these days. Beat Kangz Electronics Beat Thang Virtual can help provide a steady background to a variety of music projects. The system comes with 3,000 professionally recorded samples, the ability to add your own and high-end electronics for editing and customizing the sound. For example, a project can start with a snare drum that you add reverb and delay to, followed by changing the pitch and adding the scratchy sound of an old record. Anything created can be saved as a .wav file for playing for the class or later use. The software works on either a PC or Mac and costs $149.