Students in the Music Technology class showcased songs they produced with only their phones at a recital in the Little Theater on March 6. The students said it was their first time producing music on their phones, and explained how it is much more difficult than making music on a computer.
Ten songs were performed, each using different styles of music and instruments. The students described their process and how they got the inspiration for their song. Some students made baseline beats, while others included vocals.
Xavi Herrera, a junior from Tennessee majoring in biology, said he named his song “Tropical Phone Song.” He explained, “I found this stock sound in the software, which was a tropical guitar. Then I imported some 808, which is heavy bass, and some drums. I kind of just started filling things and ended up with this ... It was pretty simple. I didn’t really know what I was doing on my phone, but once I figured the sound was decent enough, I just left it at that.”
Herrera said he really enjoyed making the beat, and hoped people liked listening to it as much as liked making it.
Khoon An, a sophomore from Korea majoring in music, explained how he used to work as a DJ when he lived in Korea. “One of my favorite things was to mix up and mashup songs. There are four different songs I mashed up. This was the first time I created music with a cell phone, so I thought it would be cool if I mashed up some songs. I focused on singing, so the melody and bass were pretty simple.”
Patricia Tandiman, a sophomore from Malaysia majoring in psychology, said, “I used the same set of scores, but I used it differently for different sections. This was my first cell phone song, as with the rest of us. It was really hard, but I think the process of doing it was a good experience. I wasn’t very good at it, so this is how it ended up.”
Kelsey Nay, a freshman from Utah majoring in music, said her process in writing her song called “Getting There” involved a lot of repetition and surrounded a motif, similar to how she writes her other songs. “I kept writing a single line over and over again. I always have a motif I start with, but it never works out. With this one, I just finally wrote the first line, and I just had to keep it going. This was the hardest part of the cell phone thing for me, was trying to get it. It helped that there were sections so I could make one section and add other sections when I was ready to add another line to it.”
After the students finished presenting their songs, they were full of praise for their classmates. Herrera said of his classmates who sang, “If you can sound that good on a phone, imagine what you could do in a studio.”
Daniel Bradshaw, chair of the music and theater department and teacher of the Music Technology class, said, “It’s really incredible what we have at our fingertips. A voice recording that sounds that good straight into your phone is really amazing. The sound quality they’ve got on these devices is amazing. It’s your recording studio, it’s your mixing studio, and everything right here in the palm of your hand. It’s pretty incredible because there have been all kinds of sophisticated equipment in the past.
“These were also done in the course of two weeks with busy student lifestyles in the mix. I’m not sure exactly how many hours went into each of these. It’s probably different for each student. It’s pretty incredible.”