New to Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)? Some Sound Advice
Updated: Jan 28
I'll admit; the first time I heard the acronym "DAW," I had no idea what that meant. DAWs, or Digital Audio Workstations, are used to record bands, generate beats, and manipulate sound in many different ways. Music Education, in general, has been a late adopter of these essential and popular music tools. DAWs were first used steadily in recordings studios in the mid-90s and decades later are rarely seen in music rooms. They're not exactly something we typically get used to during our degrees. Fear not; Steve's Music Room is here for you. There are a few affordable and free cloud-based and not DAWs that are designed or handy for classroom use:
BandLab for Education
BandLab for Education is a free cloud-based (online) DAW that has a lot of capabilities. Because it is cloud-based, it means that it can be accessed on any device with access to the internet (with the exception of some handheld devices). Teachers can create classrooms within a safe walled online environment. It follows a US law called the Child Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) meaning online interactions will be safe for learners 13 and under. The non-education side of the site looks almost identical, but has no restrictions on online interactions. BandLab for Education is designed for schools. The collaboration features are a bit cumbersome, however.
In BandLab, learners can record, mix loops to create "beats," manipulate MIDI information, and much more. It can help learners sound great almost instantly and can boost their confidence right away. If you are unsure where to begin, start with loops! There is a mobile version of BandLab but the Education credentials do not work for it.
Cakewalk by BandLab
Cakewalk was purchased by BandLab and is a completely free and fully functioning desktop-based DAW that can be installed on school computers for free. It can do much of what most paid DAWs can do.