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The Making Of: Wear The Hex Hat!

FIXME - For this task, students build a musical composition by importing a simple backing track, and blending additional sounds/instruments/voice to create their own unique audio composition.

Students may optionally:

  • Add their own recorded voices/instruments/sound effects to their audio track(s)
  • Use their works to create a simple music video for upload to Youtube.
  • Create a choreographed dance routine to add to their music video.

PROOF OF CONCEPT: An example project was completed using the steps described below

This is a work in progress…

Example 01 - Compose A Simple Music Track Using Audacity

For this task:

  1. Students choose and download a public domain .mp3 music track (background track) into Audacity.
  2. Students import a simple background track into Audacity and add (record) your own sounds/words/song 'in time' to the background track.
  3. Students edit and 'mix' the track(s) so that your new sounds/song works well when everything is played back together
  4. Students 'render' (save) the completed file as an .mp3 music track that may be used to create a music video, CD/DVD or publish on-line and shared with friends… and/or uploaded to iTunes.

Students will require between one to two hours to complete the music task, and up to two hours for addition of a simple music video.


  • Don't try to create a masterpiece
  • Don't work on something critical.
  • You are learning by experimenting and exploring the many tools Audacity offers.
  • Don't expect or try to get it perfect the first time.

It really doesn't matter what your new words/notes/sounds are about. It also doesn't matter what background music you start with, but using a very simple instrumental background track with a strong beat is the easiest way to get started.

For your first composition, you will need to learn some scientific audio language, like muted and solo, and how to import, select, cut, copy and paste audio clips: how to break songs into tracks; and tracks into clips.

You can find someAudacity navigation hints here


You can use [SHIFT-CTL-F] to better fit or view the Audacity audio track layout.

To select an exact portion of audio is to mark the selection boundaries (the beginning and end of bits you want to edit) while you're playing (or recording) audio. To do this, press the [ (left square bracket) key to mark the left edge (beginning) of the audio, then the ] (right square bracket) key to mark the right edge (end) and draw the selection.

After you've done that, to listen to the new selection: Press the [SPACE] key once to stop playback and then press [SPACE] again to hear the section that you selected.

To select/mark a point while audio is playing without stopping or pausing, press the [SHIFT + A] keys.

To rewind and start playback from that mark/point, press [SPACE] once. If the track is already playing, press [SPACE] twice and the playback will resume from the newly chosen cursor position.

Use [CTL-I] to cut a track into one or more clips

The standard copy, cut, paste and move options are your friends.

When editing, it is often faster and simpler to use the Shortcut Reference as an alternative to using the mouse.


  1. Decide what style of music you want to create
    1. For example: A simple, bright, fun, techno dance track and promotional art work.
  2. Listen to .mp3 music tracks and download some that you like:
    1. Only use legal, public domain or similarly licensed music like: OpenMusice or Youtube music library
  3. This music track should be simple - it is only used to form a foundation - you may overwrite most/all of this when adding your own instruments, vocals and special effects.


  1. Import your selected music file into Audacity (see Audacity user manual here
  2. Create a 'Label' track to identify what instruments/sounds will be played in each section.
    1. Example, section labels like: introduction, main song, chorus, finale, fade out.
  3. Play the music track, sing/play along and modify your lyrics/notes to suit background track
  4. Record a track to store your own song/music
  5. Play back both the original background and your new sounds
  6. You may need to 'mix' the tracks so that they play well together: see the tutorials
  7. To avoid confusion when listening to your project, it is often best to 'Mute' some tracks or play back a track as 'Solo'

Demo tracks loaded into Audacity

DOWNLOAD ALL THE AUDACITY 'Wear The Hex Hat' PROJECT FILES HERE(Note: This is an 84MB .zip archive)

  1. Extract the contents of the .zip file - it will create a folder called WEAR_THE_HEX_HAT_Music
  2. Navigate to that folder and and click on the Audacity project file named WPS_HEX_HAT.aup
  3. Press the Audacity play button… and off you go...

Getting Started - Day One: 'Wahroonga - Wear The Hex Hat!'

  • Original demo here


  • Original demo here


  Sydney, London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Wahroonga... Wahroonga?

Main Song Phrases (repeated):
  My science teacher said Prove the Earth's not flat
  My creative art teacher said Design a hex hat
  My engineering teacher said Make a cricket bat
  My technology teacher said Code some music. That is that!

Background sounds:
  Ah Um Ooh

Other voice/background sounds:
  Wahroonga. Wahroonga? Wear the hex hat!

NOTES: Keep the leading space character in each text line (helps prevent 'clipping' when text is converted to audio). You may add an 'h' to the word 'Wahroonga' to improve pronunciation if using text to speech conversion.


All of the lyrics were copied and pasted into an on-line 'text to speech' converter and then downloaded as an mp3 file, using both male and female voices. The .mp3 file was imported into Audacity and used as part of the song.


The Audacity sound was exported as a .wav file and then edited using the free Openshot video editing software, see Openshot Manual. Any other simple video editing tool would do as well. The demo file was exported from Openshot and uploaded to Youtube

This was a 'quick and dirty' demo and none of the audio or video was modified in any way other than simple cut and paste.

The 'Wahroonga - Wear The Hex Hat' demo used cut and paste only. There was no attempt to synchronise sound and vision, use transition effects, compress, normalise or otherwise enhance the raw sounds/music/video.**

Most students in in year 3 or later should be able to create a similar or better quality product with minimal support.

EXAMPLE 3 - First time exploration: Compose Music With Soundtrap


When I told the folks back home that I was coming to Wahroonga, they said Wear the hex hat!
brainbox/young-film-makers/wear-the-hex-hat/home.txt · Last modified: 23/06/2017/ 09:26 by