Imagine the sound of your voice being turned into a giantor the sound of keys turned into a spaceship taking off.  All you need are your ears and a sense of adventure!

Mr Mangles Magical Music Factory is a software application for Key Stage 1 & 2, Early Years and SEN that enables children to record their voice (or anything else) and turn it into an amazing, educational resource.productionline_textured

Using just a few simple icons, you can quickly capture a sound, play it back on a giant on-screen keyboard and change it in all sorts of fun ways.

Mr Mangles Magical Music Factory can be used to develop language, listening, literacy, music and many other areas of the new curriculum. Why not use our free lesson plans to help you get started?


 

BACKGROUND

The Magical Music Factory has been designed by Mat Andasun, a musician with many years experience of both studio production and working with young children, and built with input from many different schools and teachers listed below.  Heres the story of how it came to be.

 

THE STORY BEHIND MR MANGLES MAGICAL MUSIC FACTORY

By Mat Andasun

I first had the idea of using music technology with children in 2003 when my youngest son was still at nursery. His nursery was kind enough to let me loose on their children for a week. I took in a hardware sampler, a microphone, a controller keyboard and portable minidisc recorder.

As a practising musician, I had been keen to find ways of engaging children in music technology that emphasised fun and group work.  We spent time recording our voices, slowing them down and speeding them up using the keyboard. We then moved on to recording sounds from around the nursery into the minidisc recorder which I then uploaded into the sampler. The children would listen to the sounds, describe what they sounded like as they played them from the keyboard and would decide whether I should put effects on them.

mrmangle-character2The climax of the weeks work was to put the sounds into a story. We’re All Going On A Bear Hunt was chosen as it features a number of different environments through which the characters have to travel, each with its own special noise. The children divided up into pairs and created the sounds for each environment by recording and changing sounds from the inside and outside the nursery.  As I read through the story, the children would come up and play their sound at the appropriate time.  I later decided to replace the book with a story that could be created with input from the children and told on the spot.

The two things that really fired me up about the work was the way in which the children responded to the fun of recording themselves and the things around them, and then changing those sounds; and the fascinating way in which it had so many beneficial side effects. The children learned to work in pairs and as a team to accomplish their tasks. They had to learn a whole new lexicon to discuss sound and its manipulation. The development of a new story, which was done as a group, encouraged them to articulate the depths of their imagination. The experience of playing their sound in the story (in effect, a performance) gave the children confidence and a great sense of pride and ownership. As with all the best music work, there was as much active listening as there was active music making.

I carried on with the work, ditching my hardware sampler as computerbased software sampling came of age.  As the years progressed and more and more schools and early years settings got to grips with what I was doing, I kept coming up against the same problem.  When I was in a school or early years setting running the  software, all was well; but as soon as I left, no matter how carefully and thoroughly I went over the procedures with the children and the practitioners, the intricacies of the software packages were too much for them to get to grips with.  Not surprisingthese software packages were designed for professional musicians to work with and were quite complicated.  What I needed was something that took the complexity out of the equation but which could still deliver the goods.  Sitting at my kitchen table in 2009, I sketched out the moves that the children made to record a sound and change it, drew up some very pictures of the software buttons and the character of Mr Mangle (an inventor with big ears, creepy but benevolent) and the Magical Music Factory was born.Factory

I spent the next couple of years looking for a software company to develop the idea but to no avail.  Then, at the presentation of a report into one of my projects, called Telling Tales (funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music and Nottingham City Council), the Arts Council came forward and invited me to apply for funding to get the software made myself.  Youth Music then came up with some funding to trial the new software and now what you have on the website is the result of all that hard work.

My thanks goes to:

  • Nigel Brown of Impromptu Software for coding the application.
  • Paul Walker of Kalm Design for bringing Mr Mangle and the Magical Music Factory to life
  • Elaine Fox and Louise Meadows at Nottingham City Council, and Heloise Davies and Liz Brown (both formerly of Youth Music) for commissioning the early work
  • The Renewal Trust, Nottinghamshire Community Foundation and the Bridor Trust for their generous financial contributions over the years
  • Olivia Lowson for the Telling Tales report that got the ball rolling
  • Martha Toogood for evaluating the new software.
  • Emma Watson for managing the development and trialing process
  • Peter Cope of BLi Education and Jamie Ambler of TTS Group for their astute and timely advice
  • The practitioner team that first trialed the softwareMatt Ratcliffe and Lauren Greaves
  • The evaluation team that watched how it went and reported back  Hannah Millett, Michelle Lockwood, Isaac Elliott-Anderson and Cecily Smith.
  • All of the schools and early years settings from across the East Midlands who have taken part in the projects since 2003:

Bluebell Hill After School Club, Nottingham

Broxtowe Childrens Centre, Nottingham

Claremont Primary School, Nottingham

Clifton Children’s Centre, Nottingham

Clockhouse Nursery, Nottingham

Dovecote Primary School, Nottingham

Dunkirk Primary School, Nottingham

Educare 1, Nottingham

Educare 2, Nottingham

Forest Way SEN Academy, Leicestershire

Greendale Nursery, Nottingham

Greenwood Day Nursery, Nottingham

Haydn Road Primary School, Nottingham

Heathfield Primary School, Nottingham

Huntingdon Primary School, Nottingham

Hyson Green Children’s Centre, Nottingham

Ivy House SEN School, Derbyshire

King Edward Park nursery, Nottingham

Robinswood Day Nursery, Nottingham

Rosehill SEN School, Nottingham

Sinfin Childrens Centre, Derby

Snarestone Primary School, Leicestershire

Sneinton Childrens Centre, Nottingham

Stepping Stones Nursery, Nottingham

University Day Nursery, Nottingham

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