How to get started with Me-j’s website and studio.
Listen to the sounds around you and in Me‑J Studio
The world around is full of sounds that can tell you what’s happening and make you feel excited, scared, happy, or curious and lots of other things, too! Take time to listen to the sounds around you. What sounds do you hear? Take a walk around your house. Different places have different sounds. What sounds do you hear outside or at school?
Is that a bird chirping? A delivery truck passing? An airplane overhead? Your friends laughing? The phone ringing? The refrigerator humming? How do the sounds you hear make you feel? Which are your sounds do you like and which do you not like hearing? Do the sounds you like have something in common? Pick a sound you hear. Can you imitate that sound?
The sounds you hear around you can become music. Does the repeated whirring of a fan or a construction person hammering start to sound like music to you? Music can be as simple as repeating or changing sounds over time. Musical instruments are tools to make special kinds of sounds that we can turn into music. What musical instruments can you name? Can you describe what they sound like or make the sound yourself? Listen to different types of music. How many different instrument sounds can you hear?
Jay, along with kids like you, have uploaded lots of the sounds they hear around them into Me-J Studio. You can hear all of these sounds in the Sound Library, just click on each one to play it. Do you hear sounds in the Studio that remind you of sounds you heard walking around your home or outside? Are some sounds funny? Are some loud or very quiet? Long and short? The different types of sounds in the world are endless.
Capture the sounds of your world
Wouldn’t it be great if you could save all of the sounds you love that you hear? Or maybe you’d like to invent your own sounds for other people to hear. You can do this with Me-J Studio and save them alongside the sounds we already heard in the Studio. Go to the Recorder from your computer or tablet to capture your own sounds.
If you’re at a computer or on an Android tablet or phone, just click the Record button. (You may be asked to let Me-J Studio record you. Just say yes.) Then make any sound you want or point your microphone toward the sound you want to capture. We’ll be turning these sounds into music later and short sounds work best for that, so just record a few seconds. Press the Stop button when you’re done.
If you’re using an iPhone or an iPad, open a sound recording app to capture your sound and save it. Then, in Me-J Studio, tap on “Select and audio file” to find the sound you just recorded on your device.
Me-J Studio will then let you play your sound. Does it sound good? If you don’t like it, you can record it again. If you like and want to save it in the Studio, give it a name. Choose a name that’s a word or two that will let people imagine what the sound is like without even hearing it. Every sound in Me-J Studio is also represented by a color and a picture. Tap on a color and one of the pictures that you think looks like the sound you recorded.
Don’t forget to make sure your name is shown there. If you’re out recording sounds with your friends or family, add their names, too!
Lastly, check the box “Share your sound with everyone in Me‑J Studio?” if you want others in the studio to be able to listen to and make music with your sound.
Great! Now you’re ready to save your sound to the Sound Library. Just tap Save Sound and you’re done!
Are there more sounds that you want to keep and share? Go ahead and record them all! You can listen to all of the sounds you’ve recorded by going back to the Sound Library.
Record your sounds and share them!
Put sounds together to create a story
We’ve listened to sounds around us and recorded some into Me-J Studio. Together, the sounds we like are a great way of expressing ourselves. Each of us might like different sounds and that makes us unique. Sounds can also have a story behind them. When you play a sound you recorded, you probably remember where you were and how you felt when you first heard it. Sounds can also be put together to tell more complicated stories and express all kinds of feelings. This is what’s at the heard of making music. We already talked about how the repetition and changes of sounds over time is the basis for music.
In Me-J Studio, we can take the sounds we’ve saved to the Sound Library and assemble them to create music. There are many ways sounds can become music. With Beat in Me-J Studio, we can create rhythms with these sounds. In Beat, you will see the sounds from the Studio Sound Library as pictures in a column on the left or across the bottom of your screen. You can scroll through these sounds and find the ones you want to use. Tap a sound to hear it. If you hear something you like, then just tap it and drag it into the large white canvas. A circle will show you where the sound can go. Release to place the sound there. Tapping a sound in the canvas also plays it. On a tablet, you can even tap multiple sounds at once to play them together. Once a sound is on the canvas, you can tap and drag it again, to move it around.
You can play your composition—all the sounds you’ve arranged on the canvas—by tapping the Play button on the top right of the screen. You’ll soon see that where you place the sound is important. When you play your composition, Beat starts playing the sounds on the left and then continues to the right. You can place sounds above or below each other however you like. Sounds directly above or below each other will play at the same time. Be careful, though. If you place drag a sound onto a picture already on the canvas, the sound will be replaced by the new sound you are dragging. That’s all there is to making a rhythm-based piece of music from the sounds in the Sound Library. The challenge is to create interesting rhythms out of the sounds. Where do strong sounds sound good? How about soft sounds? Are lots of crazy sounds interesting or do you like repeating just a few simple clicks and claps and snaps and bangs? Just as important as adding sounds is deciding where to leave silence. Do two sounds sound good one right after the other, or do you need a bit of silence in between them? What kinds of unique rhythmic patterns can you create by repeating or alternating different sounds and silences?
Also think about what kinds of stories you can tell in your composition. If different sounds remind you of different events or moments, you can arrange those sounds in the order that they happened. Or you can contrast different sounds by bringing them close together. What is the story of a duck quacking and a bicycle bell? How does the sequence of sounds make you feel? Is there a surprise? Do the sounds build up very fast? Can you create a moment of suspense?
Also, since you can play sounds just by tapping them, as well as playing the whole canvas. This makes Beat a kind of instrument, too! You can arrange sounds in the canvas so that it’s easy to tap them in different patterns, kind of like a drum set. Can you play patterns of sound very fast or make up interesting stories as you play? You can even press Play and add in more sounds by tapping while your composition plays.
Tell a story with your sounds in Beat!
Transform your composition with a Secret Sound Shaper
Want to make your Beat composition uniquely yours? You can use sound not only as the instruments in you music, but to give the whole creation any shape you want. The Secret Sound Shaper lets you or your friends and family give your sound composition a unique fingerprint and make it even more interesting and varied than just how the sounds are arranged in time. Once you’ve made a composition in Beat, you can click on the Secret Sound Shaper button to record a new sound that will transform the whole composition.
Your Secret Sound Shaper can be longer than the sounds you record for the Sound Library, up to 30 seconds in length. You do anything with your recording to shape your composition. Try being very soft or suddenly loud. Make pure sounds like whistling, or very noisy sounds like clanging a handful of spoons. There are many properties of sound, from timing to loudness to noisiness. Me-J Studio looks at all of these qualities when the Secret Sound Shaper transforms your composition.
Don’t worry, you won’t lose your original masterpiece. You can turn on and off the effects of the Secret Sound Shaper by tapping the checkbox next to the Shaper button. And, if you don’t like the result of the Secret Sound Shaper you just recorded, tap the button again to record another. No matter what you do, though, your Secret Sound Shaper will make your composition uniquely yours!
Back in Beat, see what shape your composition takes!