You may have seen the segment from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon where Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel create an “impromptu” version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” using the Loopy HD app for the iPad. After watching this segment, I wanted to buy the app and give it a try (at the time of this posting it is half price!). At first, it seemed like a novelty app that might not have much application to the classroom. The more I used the app though, the more I was surprised by the complexity and creativity that it offered to the user. With very little practice, I was able to create the project here:

I started by recording the first segment or loop, “One bottle of pop. . . ” followed by additional parts added to create harmony. Each loop is recorded separately while the other is playing. I found it much cleaner sounding when I recorded with headphones and I just used the mic on my iPad although you can get fancy and use a nicer mic. Each circle represents a new loop which can be turned on or off at any point. There are great tutorials built into the app so I will not take a lot of time to explain here.

From my experience creating this project, several applications became clear to me for how this app could be useful to a vocal music educator. With a teacher iPad connected to a sound system in the classroom, here are some ways you can use Loopy HD with your students:

  1. Record a loop or ostinato pattern that could be used for a vocal warm up accompaniment.
  2. Ask each voice part to record a “loop” to use for practice – share the loop via Email, SoundCloud, or through iTunes for students to practice at home (in this instance the loop is functioning more like a track).
  3. Record a starter loop and ask students to create or improvise something that might work (harmonically and rhythmically) with the first loop, record their ideas to keep adding layers of harmony  – a bad idea can always be deleted!
  4. Record a series of loops which could be toggled on an off to help students sing in parts – like my example above this could be a great tool for students learning to sing in parts.
  5. Use Loopy to sing rounds by recording the first performance of the round as a loop and allowing it to play in a loop as students sing with the loop.
  6. Import a piano accompaniment (when available) or record it as the first “loop” and then record a student or group singing each part. You can toggle on and off each vocal part especially when working with a sectional group in rehearsal (in this instance the loop is functioning more like a track).
  7. Have students create rhythmic patterns that can be looped and provide accompaniment patterns for other songs.
  8. Import some of the pre-made loops within Loopy to create accompaniments or starting points for song ideas where students can perform and improvise along with a loop.
  9. Create your own loop using instruments and tools from Garageband. Loopy works with Garageband (and some other music apps) to make both apps work with each other.
  10. The general music teacher could use Loopy to record all of the rudimentary instrumental parts of a song to demonstrate prior to performing it. For example, the teacher could record Orff instrument parts on separate loops then add percussion parts or other instruments. The teacher can then turn and off each loop to demonstrate how they work and sound together. Having these parts pre-recorded could also be helpful in the event that a student is missing or struggling with a part – you would know that the part is always covered.

Do you have ideas or experience using this app? Please take a moment to share more ideas in the comments field below!

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