The Jam Bus – Mobile Recording Studio (a new initiative run by Play It Strange Trust), is a mobile recording studio for Auckland primary and intermediate schools. All the recording equipment you would normally find in a professional recording studio, is brought and set up in the school.

All sorts of musical ensembles can be recorded: choirs, kapa haka, bands, orchestras, soloists. If you can play it, Jam Bus can record it.

The families and communities of the children recorded all get to hear the sound of their youth, as each child receives a free CD of their schools recordings. The recordings so far reflect the diversity of cultures that New Zealand is privilege to. Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Indian, Chinese groups have all recorded – a testament to the schools and communities visited.

The look on a child’s face when they hear themselves played back through studio monitors for the first time is one of thrilling self-discovery. It is a simple but wondrous trick that increases self-confidence and enthusiasm, and opens students up to the possibilities of recording their own music.

As the students learn about the recording process, they gain an appreciation of how music is created. It also sparks an interest to learn how to record themselves and for the schools to set their own basic recording studio up. Technology allows this to be simple and affordable and Play It Strange believes recording equipment vital for an engaging contemporary school.

They have discovered schools creating our future singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, composers and percussionists; and believe that amongst them are our future producers, studio engineers, live sound mixers, radio DJ’s, journalists – the list goes on. Musicians today need to be able to record and mix themselves – and an introduction to technology at a young age is powerful.

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