Back when I was an amateur high school guitarist/vocalist, recording music meant renting one of the few music recording studios. The hourly sessions of studio rent were expensive – with the eight-hour session minimum, the results were mediocre at best, but we had to.
Looking back to those days, it’s amazing how today’s teenagers can easily create good quality music in minutes using only their smartphones and imagination. There are already many music-making apps available on the market, from the simplest to the most complicated and advanced.
If just starting on your musical journey, Music Maker Jam (free, available for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile) should be perfect. It’s easy to start but capable of helping you produce great music.
The goal of the app is to get users to start making good music quickly. So, the proven way to do that is by using loops. A loop is a short clip of ready-made music that you can play over and over in loop, hence the name, and mix with other loops. You can build your music just by adding one loop after another.
You can start the journey by choosing “Make Music” from the main window.
From the making music window, you will have a set of active musical instruments that you can activate or deactivate by tapping on the instrument logo. Each instrument’s volume can be adjusted by sliding the control above the volume. Tap the play button to know how the mix is going to sound, and make necessary adjustments on the go.
You can change the instrument for each channel by tapping the name of the instrument and choose another from the list. Browse the options by sliding the item left and right. The first layer is the genre of the music. After that, move on to the next one under it to choose one of the available instruments. And finally, choose what type of sound that instrument would make.
At the upper level of the window you can find the menu tabs. Next to the “Make Music” tab is the “Equalizer” tab. You can move the control circle anywhere around the four quadrants to change the overall sound of your music. The options are the combination of “Low” and “High” sound (left and right side) and “Strong” and “Soft” sound (upper and lower side).
Another setting that you can change is the chord in any part of the song. Choose the note icon to open the “Chord” menu. Tap at one of the parts (the circle buttons), and slide up and down to choose the chord you want. If you don’t understand music, it’s better to leave these settings alone. You can also choose the song’s segment (Intro, Refrain, Coda, etc.) and add and remove segments by tapping the edit button.
To control the overall volume of the song and to adjust the song beat, tap the volume icon at the menu. This control is useful if your song is too loud or the tempo is too slow or fast.
The last option from the menu is the analog recording button. Using this feature you can record and mix real instruments and your voice. If you are the kind of person who thinks electronic music is too perfect and lacks the human touch, you can add your guitar playing, solo piano playing, or singing into the song.
If you are done with all the settings and adjustments, you can record your song by tapping the red “Record” button at the top left corner of the window.
Saving, Adding Sound, and Sharing
What can you do after you finish the recording process? You can save the song by tapping the “Save” menu. Give your file a name and hit save.
If you think that the choices of sounds and styles in Music Maker Jam are not enough, you can add more from the “Project” menu in the Home page. There are free and paid downloads, and you can restore your past purchases (if any) from this window.
Music Maker Jam also provides users with the social side of music making. You can check other musicians profiles, like and give comments on their work, and interact with them. You can also share your work with the community and get inputs and pointers.
Whether you are a non-musician who only wants to make use of your commute time, an amateur who wants to explore the possibilities or a seasoned musician who wants to expand your horizon, Music Maker Jam is a cool mobile app that you should try. And if you are using it, or know other alternative music maker apps, please share using the comments below.