♫ Thank You For The Music – For Giving It To Me ♫

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!


5 thoughts on “♫ Thank You For The Music – For Giving It To Me ♫

  1. Thanks for sharing Andrew. This might be a good option for learning about the first twenty elements of the periodic table and other mnemonics. I’ll try it out with my year 8 students and let you know how it goes!

  2. I gave this a go and it is a great resource. I think there may be some minor problems with quality – perhaps because we are in Australia? The recording cut in and out quickly – backing and vocals. But I persisted and everything settled down. Can’t wait to show this to our Middle and Junior Years teachers! Thanks Andrew.

    • Hi Julie, I don’t think it could be an Australia issue – because I’m in Australia too. Because the recording is going straight to the web, I wonder if it might be an Internet speed issue? Mind you I have used uJam without any issues when my MacBook has been tethered to my iPhone. So I really don’t know what could be causing the “cutting in and out” issue you are seeing. If you find a solution, please let us know here 🙂

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  4. Hi Andrew,

    A student directed me to your website this morning, and after some exploration I’ve got to say that I’m engaged and RSS subscribed. Pity you’re not an English teacher… but then again maybe I should follow your advice and start publishing my own stuff to the web.



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