This year we are using the free open source software Audacity to make audio recordings.  One of the great things about Audacity is that it can be downloaded for free and is available for a variety of operating systems (Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux).  It also has a lot of functionality.

Below are a series of screencasts explaining how to do various tasks in Audacity.  Here are some other great places to find answers to questions you may have about Audacity:

Making Your First Recording in Audacity (link)

Editing Audio in Audacity

In the video below I demonstrate how to delete a section of audio in Audacity (link).

Free Music and Sound Effects

Often it's good to include music in a spoken word recording.  Sometimes music is used as an intro, as an outro, or even just quietly in the background.  Here are some sources for copyright free music and sound effects:
Free Music Archive
BBC Sound Effects

Adding Music and Sound Effects to Your Recording 

Once you have made a recording in Audacity, you can import sound effects or music.  Follow the instructions below and / or watch the video tutorial that follows (link).  
  • First, you need to download the audio clip from a site like one of the ones listed above.
  • Then, in Audacity select 'File', then 'Import' then 'Audio'
  • Find the audio file that you are looking for (it is probably in your downloads folder), select it
  • It should now appear as another track, below what you had previously recorded.  Now you are going to have to adjust the length and volume of the new audio track so it works with what you've already recorded.  I'll explain how to do that in a future video.

Once you've added some music, you will have to cut it and adjust the volume levels.  In the following video I explain how to do that.  I will use the Time Shift Tool, Envelope Tool, and the Fade Out Effect.  (link)

This video also explains a variety of different ways that you can adjust the sound volume in Audacity.

If you want to get fancy you can try the Auto Duck feature.  Don't worry, no water fowl will be harmed!  In this case we are talking about ducking down the audio.  The video below (link) shows you how to do it.

Exporting Your Finished Product

Once you've finished editing your audio, you need to export it in a format that can be played in iTunes, Quick Time, or your audio player of choice.  The most popular format to export the file to is MP3.  The video below (link) will step you through this process.  *Note: if you are using Audacity on your home computer, the first time that you try to export a file as an MP3 or other format you may get an error message indicating that you need to install the LAME MP3 encoder.  This link has  information on how to do this.  It's a pretty straightforward process, so don't panic!  Once the LAME MP3 encoder is installed on your computer as per the instructions, you are good to go. 

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