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9 year old kid: what HW or SW to buy him to make music?
Old 28th March 2009
  #1
9 year old kid: what HW or SW to buy him to make music?

This is a serious question, so I'd appreciate serious answers.

I'm trying to find a suitable software or hardware for my sister's son to learn how to write his own music. He's 9 years old and seems to be more technically interested in the music writing process / gadgets than learning how to actually play an instrument.

So I've been trying to come up with an idea of what HW gadget or software host / etc. would be best for him to learn all this stuff with. I don't want to overwhelm this kid by buying him Logic Pro 8 and some monster software synth, since there would be a too steep learning curve.

He seemed to be really interested in my Korg EMX-1 while building his own simple drum patterns, but since it's a pretty complex machine with complex UI, he wasn't able to do much with it. This proves that if the SW/HW was simple enough, he'd have the energy and interest to learn it.

I've been eyeing the Korg ER-1 groovebox, which would enable him to create his own fun patterns and tweak the sounds a bit, but that's the only thing I've managed to come up with so far. ER-1 is also quite limited since it can only do drums.

I would really like to hear your suggestions what HW or SW might work for this kid.
Old 28th March 2009
  #2
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I think Garage Band is kinda made for this.
Old 28th March 2009
  #3
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

The Korg ER-1 is a very intuitive piece of kit, but as you say, it's quite limited soundwise.

What about some loop-based software that lets him quickly put a song together, but can also allow him to make his own patterns? My suggestion would be Cakewalk Kinetic 2. It's very intuitive, easy to use, and comes with a decent selection of softsynths, including the Roland Groovesynth, which is basically a rompler with many sounds to get him started. Once he gets the hang of it, he can start messing with PSYN-II (which is based on z3ta+), and the DropZone sampler. Best of all, it's relatively cheap and works pretty well on any PC.
Old 28th March 2009
  #4
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crufty's Avatar
guitar hero IV
Old 28th March 2009
  #5
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a roland SH-101 or some kind of simple synth with lot's of knobs buttons and sliders but no menu..

or maybe one of those roland handsonic hand drum things. good for a kid to beat on
Old 29th March 2009
  #6
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Greg_KPX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku View Post
This is a serious question, so I'd appreciate serious answers.

I'm trying to find a suitable software or hardware for my sister's son to learn how to write his own music. He's 9 years old and seems to be more technically interested in the music writing process / gadgets than learning how to actually play an instrument.

So I've been trying to come up with an idea of what HW gadget or software host / etc. would be best for him to learn all this stuff with. I don't want to overwhelm this kid by buying him Logic Pro 8 and some monster software synth, since there would be a too steep learning curve.

He seemed to be really interested in my Korg EMX-1 while building his own simple drum patterns, but since it's a pretty complex machine with complex UI, he wasn't able to do much with it. This proves that if the SW/HW was simple enough, he'd have the energy and interest to learn it.

I've been eyeing the Korg ER-1 groovebox, which would enable him to create his own fun patterns and tweak the sounds a bit, but that's the only thing I've managed to come up with so far. ER-1 is also quite limited since it can only do drums.

I would really like to hear your suggestions what HW or SW might work for this kid.
You're on the money with the korg electribes... I'd go for the Korg ESX because it adds sampling while still keeping it all fun and basic... I don't think you can get much simpler than electribes without limiting him as he learns/gets older... and he can sample his farts.
Old 29th March 2009
  #7
Garageband. thumbsup

(Comes free with a mac)
Old 29th March 2009
  #8
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Beermaster's Avatar
 

A second hand upright piano !
Old 29th March 2009
  #9
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timbreman's Avatar
 

For HW a good starter would be an electribe or maybe an older mc303 or 505.
For SW I would say Acid Music.

Since he is young he might like HW more because it is more hands on.
Old 29th March 2009
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
A second hand upright piano !
Not a bad call at all!
Although I've seen quite a few kids lose interest quickly.
Old 29th March 2009
  #11
I think he'll like tweakability and the possibility to input note data non-realtime (like step sequencing, mouse click / piano roll, etc.).
Old 29th March 2009
  #12
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cynic one's Avatar
 

maybe iDrum? (iZotope, Inc - Audio Processing Technology and Plug-Ins for Pro Tools, VST, MAS, Audio Unit, and DirectX) it's really quite simple and might be good for him.

either that or FL studio. can be as simple or complex as you want. FL studio kind of looks like a video game too, so that might be fun for him.

you can drag sounds to the step sequencer and click to make noises...or use the piano roll and have a keyboard to lay out notes.

includes all manners of sounds to get him started.
Old 29th March 2009
  #13
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Garageband to be sure.

Or yeah Korg ES-1 would be better than the ER-1 cos he can sample sounds, etc.

That said, something with a keyboard would be better for inspiring him to learn to play music as well as just "make" it.
Old 29th March 2009
  #14
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roginator's Avatar
whell my older son is 9

and so far 2 years of piano school

he is on LOGIC at the moment....

he use wavestation as keyboard, one R8, one korg DDD1 and juno 2

so I would say get that kid piano and any Hi end pro software get LE version or something..hey learn fast now... my son is on logic 5.51 on PC and its good way to learn all he needs fast!

believe me he learn faster than you can imagine ( ALL KIDS DO!!!!)


D
Old 29th March 2009
  #15
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bleepbleep's Avatar
 

Tenori-ON
Old 29th March 2009
  #16
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crufty's Avatar
roland mc x0x is a good call.

Roland grooveboxen have RPS, which are pattern phrases attached to note keys. By holding down multiple keys, you can 'compose' songs without the drudgery of actually composing them.

mc303 is a little limited in the sense half of its stuff is rom / read only. But...for $50-$75 its nice.
Old 29th March 2009
  #17
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lowkey's Avatar
 

Garageband is great for songwriters, then, later he can move onto Logic and be a Mac user for the rest of his life
Old 29th March 2009
  #18
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Get him a Korg EM-1 to start with. It's simple, but the sounds are not the most flexible, etc. It definitely won't be the only thing he'll need.

OR, get him a RS7000. It's complicated in that there is so much to learn, but it's also easy to get going with. I would say RS7000 because it can be the center or something bigger later if a time comes for a keyboard. The Korg EM-1 is pretty limited, but it's fun. Both are fun actually.
Old 29th March 2009
  #19
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bbow73's Avatar
 

I would test him out with some cheap stuff first, see how serious he is.
Most 9 year olds are into Nintendo DS, get him a Roland PMA-5. Those are sturdy, cheap, easy, and fun.
If he's into, then show him Garageband and an MC-303, see which one he's more into.
Old 29th March 2009
  #20
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bbow73's Avatar
 

actually, if he has a DS, I think Korg makes some kind of music program for it.
Old 29th March 2009
  #21
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Electronica03's Avatar
 

WOWWW... I wish at age 9 I had someone like you!!! NO just a mother that wouldnt let the volume be above .05
Old 29th March 2009
  #22
this is fun

Welcome to U and I Software

some stuff made with v.1
Old 29th March 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleepbleep View Post
Tenori-ON
i think a kid would understand this almost intuitively and have fun w/it. it's the perfect sort of tinker toy meets light show meets music machine.. though the stock sounds are apparently lame.. i thin it samples though right? and can control other things.

so, +1

or you could track down the siftables (the music demo is not at the beginning, it comes in at about 4:50, but its worth watching the whole thing to see what kind of awesome tech kids of the future will have):

David Merrill demos Siftables, the smart blocks | Video on TED.com

Old 29th March 2009
  #24
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digital 1010's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius View Post
i think a kid would understand this almost intuitively and have fun w/it. it's the perfect sort of tinker toy meets light show meets music machine.. though the stock sounds are apparently lame.. i thin it samples though right? and can control other things.

so, +1

or you could track down the siftables (the music demo is not at the beginning, it comes in at about 4:50, but its worth watching the whole thing to see what kind of awesome tech kids of the future will have):

David Merrill demos Siftables, the smart blocks | Video on TED.com

I had a go on one the other week. The sounds were not that weak and it was quite fun to use but overall i was a bit of a laugh than a serious thing. Was quite good for building up patterns etc.

What about something like the ejay stuff eJay as a small starter for building ideas software synth wise etc and then say an electric guitar or a piano as stated or even a small midi drum kit.

I think its also essential to learn an instrument of some sort to start on the right path

Ben
Old 29th March 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digital 1010 View Post
I had a go on one the other week. The sounds were not that weak and it was quite fun to use but overall i was a bit of a laugh than a serious thing. Was quite good for building up patterns etc.

I think its also essential to learn an instrument of some sort to start on the right path

Ben
i think a 9 year old might appreciate the limitations of something like a tenori on and that kind of thing invites creative thinking to solve problems and make it do what you want it to do. i think hardware would be the way to go. something tactile and hands on then maybe see how it goes and see if the software bug takes hold w.something like garageband or live or reason or something.

but i agree.. some kind of basic musical instrument would be cool.. and an oldschool 4 track or something. my friend got an upright piano in great shape off craigslist real cheap but it took 5 of us to move it to his house.

i still think a roland sh-101 would be a blast for a kid. it's small, has a sequencer/arpeggiator and is just a bunch of buttons and sliders and an infinite amount of sounds.

maybe a yamaha DJX keyboard. some cheesey sounds, some XG sounds and all that and room to learn basic keyboard and also program sounds and make weird noises and it can be used w/headphones!
Old 29th March 2009
  #26
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rids's Avatar
 

I would think the EM-1, ESX-1, or Er-1 would be good for him. The Tenori On would also be a good choice.

I think an MC-303 might work, but might also not work - depends since there are some submenu or button presses that might not be apparent (that was a long time ago I messed with my friends though).

A DJX or some Arranger keyboard might work and be fun. He can press play on there to play preset patterns and play along with them. Roland, Korg, Yamaha all make them.
Old 29th March 2009
  #27
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I taught my little nephew (he was 8 at that time) Ableton Live in like an hour.
There are Light Edition versions out there if money is a limiting factor.
Old 29th March 2009
  #28
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I'll echo what a lot of people already said: Garageband + a groovebox (like one of the Korgs). Possibly Live instead of Garageband, it has a very intuitive workflow.
Old 29th March 2009
  #29
Gear Nut
 
vanpet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku View Post
This is a serious question, so I'd appreciate serious answers.

I'm trying to find a suitable software or hardware for my sister's son to learn how to write his own music. He's 9 years old and seems to be more technically interested in the music writing process / gadgets than learning how to actually play an instrument.

So I've been trying to come up with an idea of what HW gadget or software host / etc. would be best for him to learn all this stuff with. I don't want to overwhelm this kid by buying him Logic Pro 8 and some monster software synth, since there would be a too steep learning curve.

He seemed to be really interested in my Korg EMX-1 while building his own simple drum patterns, but since it's a pretty complex machine with complex UI, he wasn't able to do much with it. This proves that if the SW/HW was simple enough, he'd have the energy and interest to learn it.

I've been eyeing the Korg ER-1 groovebox, which would enable him to create his own fun patterns and tweak the sounds a bit, but that's the only thing I've managed to come up with so far. ER-1 is also quite limited since it can only do drums.

I would really like to hear your suggestions what HW or SW might work for this kid.
I really think you should buy him a "real" instrument. If he don't want to learn how to play, a guitar is easy enough, and yet very good to compose songs. It's better than any electronic device, in my opinion. And, serioulsy, it will get him girls later, a groovebox won't.

Just show him 3 or 5 easy chords, and he's ready to have fun for hours long.

And if he's really a geek, a simple drum machine or nice effects pedals are a nice plus.

(Just to be totally honest, I began music on a software called Dance eJay, which is very similar to Garage Band... I only learned guitar when I was 22! So maybe yes... I might be wrong... But I didn't get the girls! heh)
Old 29th March 2009
  #30
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

The guitar is a good option if he's into that kind of music, but not if he's into electronic music. I was never interested in guitars. Like I said on the VG thread, my first interest was computer programming since I was 9 or 10. My first "instrument" was a Commodore 16 that I used to make rhythmic noise sequences in BASIC. I knew nothing about music back then. I didn't even listen to any music. I also had a couple cheap keyboards.. Yamaha PSS-20 or so, but I always wanted a real synthesizer ever since, but I didn't get one until I was 23.

I guess my point is, don't underestimate the kid. If he has a real interest, he will learn whatever you throw at him. I'm not sure about giving him a $1000 Tenori-On to learn on, but a couple electribes and some basic DAW software should do.

I almost suggested something like a Korg Kaossillator, or the Nintendo DS with Korg DS-10. Those are quite fun, but a bit limited and toyish looking.

Maybe you could take him to a guitar center or something, and show him a few options so he can choose?
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