I recently came across a web 2.0 application called uJam that may just be the coolest web app I’ve seen this year! When I first saw it I thought “Great idea! I bet it doesn’t work”. I was so wrong.
The concept of uJam is novel. You sing an original song, and uJam puts music to it in whatever style you want! Then you can export the finished song as an mp3. (listen to the example at the end of this post).
I’ve often encouraged students to present their work in a range of different formats, as do most teachers, and I’ve invited them to do something creative – such as write and sing a song (here’s an example). The results are usually charming, and often very entertaining, but a little … amateurish, sometimes even “cringe-worthy” and I think most students find the social risks involved in writing and singing a song outweigh even their desire to impress the teacher!
But I think uJam changes that, because the results sound surprisingly good. Even if you don’t sing perfectly in tune, uJam can fix your voice to make it right!.
To demonstrate the power of uJam at a staff meeting yesterday, I asked Andrew, a colleague, to sing an impromptu song. I asked the audience to nominate a theme and someone called out “Valentines day”. Then I asked the audience to suggest a music style and someone called out “Reggae!!” So I selected Reggae from the exhaustive list of styles in uJam, clicked the “Record” button and Andrew started singing. After a minute’s wait, uJam had crafted a reggae beat to fit Andrew’s song, and a click on the “save as mp3” button downloaded it to my desktop!
The result? Not lame at all! It’s like UB40 had sung a song about getting a tripod for Valentines day!
(Remember this was a live 5-minute demo in a staff meeting, with someone who had never before seen uJam, making up a song as he went along and set to a music style pulled out of a hat. As evidence of just how impromptu this all was, if you listen closely at the beginning, you can even hear me still pointing out the features of the uJam window … but uJam has even made those instructions sound kind of funky).
Listen for yourself: Valentines Reggae
Amazing isn’t it? You’ve got to love the 21st Century!