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Things to Cherish: How to Convert an Invaluable Cassette Tape to a CD or Mp3
Recently, I came across a cassette tape of a recording I had done with students in 1973. I listened to it and decided I wanted to preserve it as a CD because the tape was beginning to deteriorate. I found it would be necessary to buy an adapter cable in order to do an easy transfer of cassette music to my laptop.
Before, I get into the process of how to convert analog tapes into CD’s and MP3’s, permit me to digress a little to explain why this task was so important to me.
In 1971, after sub teaching for four years and working nights as a musician, I decided to become a permanent teacher. I had gotten tired of never being financially secure, unless I worked two jobs. When I started teaching full time, it was a positive change to the sense of the instability I had known during my nights working various venues as a musician and sub teaching days. However, I missed my life as a musician, so in order to fill that empty feeling, I started utilizing my skills with the guitar to have enjoyable moments of downtime with the kids. This created a bond between the students and me, and it also filled the void I felt.
Early childhood education was the big push at the time, and my principal was campaigning for Wilson Riles to be superintendent of the California School System. She knew of my music background and asked me if I could write some Sesame Street type of music for a slide presentation on Early Childhood Education. Therefore, after watching the slides, which she had accumulated from photos of students at our school, I wrote the words and music for two songs I felt would be appropriate for her presentation.
We planned to record the songs in a studio, so I taught the class to sing the songs. It would have been too bureaucratically complex to use the whole class for the recording, so, I decided to pick out a group of children to perform the vocals. The final cut, after the auditions, was a group of seven students.
I enlisted a close friend of mine to write the arrangements and put together a group of musicians to record the musical background tracks, separately in the studio.
The next part was very exciting for the seven that were to perform the song. We went to the same recording studio, where the students wore headphones while overdubbing their voices to the sound tracks. Everything went according to plan and the children did a great job. We ended up with a nice recording, and my principal did a successful presentation to the school board and some other committees.
From Analog to Digital
My task was to transfer the music from a second-generation cassette tape to my laptop, in order to digitize the music in an attempt to salvage the songs. In order to complete this task, it was necessary to order a cable with a USB connector on one end and a 3.5mm stereo plug on the other end. In addition, I needed a software program to edit and clean up the music during the transfer. I downloaded the free beta edition of Audacity for the clean-up job. It is an excellent program, which will handle the transition of music from analog to digital. You need some knowledge of the process of recording music or else you are facing a longer learning curve. A manual downloads with the program, so I suggest you familiarize yourself with it, before attempting a transfer.
Four Easy Steps
1. Download Audacity (Familiarize yourself with the Audacity manual)
2. USB to 3.5 stereo plug cable. (First connect the stereo plug to the cassette player and then the USB to your laptop)
3. Audacity will allow you to select the source (in this case a cassette player).
4. Push play and transfer the music to your laptop.
Once you've transferred the music, the Audacity menu gives you a choice of tasks that you can do with just a click, in order to clean up the music.
The Final Product
The following music track is one the two songs I wrote and produced for the Early Childhood slide production. This song with its simple but staightforward lyrics pretty well demonstrates my philosophy in the affective domain of the learning process for children. Unfortunately, the original presentation disappeared years ago, so I put together something I felt was appropriate to my intent for the song, which is the world from a child’s perspective. I hope you will enjoy the video, and. If you would like to watch this in full screen Hd, you can go to my YouTube channel.
Learning to Live
Barry Rillera, a multitalented musician, who backed the Righteous Brothers and Bill Medley’s solo career for many years, arranged and produced the background music track.He played a twelve-string electric guitar on Learning to Live. Barry is still an active working musician and one of the best blues players I know. You can find his CD's on Amazon.com
© 2012 Don Fiduccia