Your Guide To Chrome Music Lab

by Zara Mohammed, Entertainment Columnist


Published in Entertainment on 9th July, 2019


About Chrome Music Lab

Learning should be fun, and music is something that everybody loves, so learning music should be a fun experience that is accessible to everyone. Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes this possible by teaching music through fun, hands-on experiments that encourage you to play with sound, rhythm, melody and much more!

Chrome Music Lab is a useful and popular tool amongst teachers who can use the website in classrooms to enable their students to explore exciting connections between music and other subjects such as mathematics, science and even art.

chrome music lab guide

When Chrome Music Lab is combined with live instruments and dance it becomes a versatile and explorative form of self-expression and discovery. You can also make your own songs using the Song Maker experiment on the Chrome Music Lab website.

What Makes Chrome Music Lab So Great?

The most attractive thing about Chrome Music Lab is that it is free to use and available to use online by anyone because it works on any device. It is also very simple and intuitive to use due to its interactive nature, and the bright and colourful features make it friendly and approachable, drawing people of all ages in to explore, discover and have fun.

The website is made up of sections called "Experiments", and each one has a different focus. For examples, here are some of the areas, or "Experiments" you can explore:

  • Song Maker
  • Sound Waves
  • Piano Roll
  • Voice Spinner
  • Harmonics

And there are more! You can check them out yourself on the website.

Downsides To Chrome Music Lab

The Chrome Music Lab is designed so that the experiments are to be used on the spot, for immediate interactivity and focus. Unfortunately this means that you can't export or download work. If you are integrating the Chrome Music Lab into your lesson plans you will need to take this into consideration, although sometimes there is the option to save a link so that your students can come back to their work later on and continue working on their projects.

chrome music lab downsizes

What Can You Do With Chrome Music Lab?

There are many ways you can use Chrome Music Lab, and here is just a handful of ideas to get you started, and some lesson prompts if you are a teacher.

Songmaker

This experiment helps you to create songs by clicking noted into a grid. You can add high notes and low notes. You can also create rhythmic patterns to add character to your music. Play about with sound and tempo, change the scale or length of your song, or increase the range of notes.

There is a mic option that allows you to record your own notes into the song you are creating, and once you have completed it you can create and save a link so that you can share your song online.

Lesson Ideas:

  • Compose a song as a class using the pentatonic scale.
  • Separate students into groups and ask each group to recreate a song you have learnt in class.
  • Compose simple rhythmic patterns in two parts.

Spectogram

The Spectogram visually reveals the frequencies that make up sound in a colourful picture. You can compare the Spectograms of different sounds by choosing an instrument or sound source from the choice of buttons at the bottom of the screen.

You can also record your own sounds using the microphone, and even draw freely on the screen to create your own funky abstract sounds!

Lesson Ideas:

  • Get students to describe what they think loud sounds look like in comparison to more quiet sounds.
  • Use the Spectogram to show choir students what the sound frequencies of their voices actually look like during vocal warm-ups.
  • Choose two sound sources and ask students to write down three differences that they can spot between the spectrograms for each sound.

Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was an artist who compared painting to making music. This is a fun experiment that encourages you to draw on the screen and turn lines, shapes and doodles into sounds. Different shapes create different sounds so you can make different types of sound by drawing circles, squares and triangles, and then by clicking on each shape you can hear each sound.

kandinsky

When you have finished your painting, press play to hear the song your drawings have created. Where you place your doodles on the screen affects the pitch of a note or the timbre of a sound.

Lesson Ideas:

  • Get students in groups to draw pictures and then play them back as a class discussing which one the students like most and why.
  • If you have a large class of young students, get them to draw simple pictures on paper using set shapes or lines, and then get each one to copy their picture into the Kandinsky experiment to see how the artwork sounds as music. Ask them if it is what they expected and if there were anything they would like to change
  • Draw horizontal lines at different heights on the screen, ask students to analyse the difference between lines drawn at the bottom, middle and top of the screen.

Voice Spinner

Change how a recording is played back, by sliding the slider left and right, and hear it played back fast, slow, forwards and backwards. You can record your own voice either singing or speaking, and other sounds around you.

voice spinner

Lesson Ideas:

  • Show students how the pitch changes as you move the slider left and right. Ask them where on the line the pitch sounds the lowest.
  • Notice how the spinner moves more quickly when the slider is pushed to each extreme end of the line. Ask students to observe what happens to the pitch as the spinner moves faster, and what happens when it moves more slowly.

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