Creating an Original Radio Commercial

Creating an Original Radio Commercial

Harry Levicky
[email protected]
St. Teresa of Avila

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Music Production


High School


Music Technology


GM Keyboards with headphones interfaced to Computers
Sequencing/Music Production Software such as Digital Performer or Cakewalk Sonar
Analog to Digital interface such as MOTU 828II Firewire System


120 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Basic navigation of keyboard, sequencer software and audio
functions of the chosen software
Basic to advanced keyboard skills

NAfME Standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standard of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standard of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standard of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standard of 1994: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

NAfME 2014: Connections


Several audio clip examples of well known radio commercials
for discussion before the actual composing begins.


Students will create their own radio commercial by
a.) Composing and recording their own music
b.) Writing their own text script
c.) Recording their own text script into the music production software
d.) Using effects such as chorus or delay for the vocal overdub
e.) Timing their commercial to fit a standard 60 second commercial air time ad


This activity would be developed in three 40 minute classes.

Day 1 – play and discuss several examples of local radio commercials pointing out the basic structure used i.e. 20 second music intro w “hook” phrase line, 30 second music bed for scripted text of the ad, 10 second music tag with “hook” repeated. These numbers can be adjusted to have a larger music bed for script and less of a music intro if desired. This discussion should take no more than 15 minutes. The remainder of the period students in groups of two would start to write their text script.

Day 2 – students would compose their music and record it into the sequencing software making sure it was 60 seconds in length.

Day 3 – students would record their vocal track of script for the commercial over their music bed.


Teacher would use a checklist to assess how many of the criteria were followed and executed –

1. The music should be original.

2. The music should be 60 seconds in length.

3. The music should have a standard form of a 10 -20 second music intro w/hook, a 30 -40 second music bed for script, and a 10 second music tag w/hook repeated.

4. The vocal recording of the script should have some sort of effect processing – chorus, doubling, delay, reverb.

Follow Up:

Have a class day to listen and critique each other’s commercial.
If the project was successful, have students create their own TV video commercial using the above methods along with integrating video recording into their project.
If the students had problems go back and work on the individual elements of writing, sequencing, and recording their commercial as separate exercises to help students understand how to combine all elements into one final project.

Items to Purchase:

MOTU 828II Firewire digital/ analog converters
MOTU Digital Performer (or Cakewalk Sonar)

When budget should be submitted:

Budget proposals should be submitted by January for the following school year.

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