Matt “Geekybird” Monjan told me he had a site that he thought I’d love, but I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. It isn’t often that I find a Web 2.0 site that totally rocks me. uJam does. Big time. I’ve shared it in three presentations in the last week alone, and every time I do, there’s an audible buzz amongst audience members. I’m still not exactly sure how it fits into education besides a few obvious ways, but without a doubt it’s something teachers and students alike are going to love.
You get started by speaking/humming/whisteling/rhyming/rapping into the microphone. It’ll tap out a beat to ensure that you keep it steady, but other than that you just do it freestyle. Then it takes you into something that looks a little like a garageband/audacity style interface… but far simpler.
You’ll see your recording along the main line, and if you want you can use a tool to nudge it around a bit to ensure it’s right on the beat. The really interesting thing is that if you look just below the voice pattern, you’ll see chords. Chords? Yeah, chords! It analyzes your voice, figures out what key you’re speaking/singing in, and aligns chords to match up with your voice! Through a drop down box at the bottom, you can add a music style to the project, and all of a sudden you’ve got instruments and percussion playing along with you in the style of your choice. What’s your personal favorite? Disco, reggae, hard rock, lullaby, funk, orchestral, they’re all in there! You can choose a complete style or pick your instruments a la carte.
One thing that really surprised me was that you could customize the chords. If you know your music, you can tweak it as much as you like, down to the very notes. But if you’re just a hack, you can select your chord progression to be happy, said, blues, Bach, or any of about 10 other styles.
The end result is that you have a drop dead easy way to take any voice recording and turn it into a piece of music. And I have to tell you, it really is amazing how well it works. If you can speak on beat, the results are going to astound you. And even if you can’t, the results are still pretty impressive.
The site is still in private alpha right now, so you can’t just register and get right in. But sign up for the pre-reg list, as I understand it they’ll be opening things up before the end of the year. But until then, put this one on your watch list. It’s one of the most exciting developments I’ve seen in quite a while.