This class requires you to learn the basics of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). If you already have or know how to use a DAW, great, use that.
You will be graded on your analysis of the process of making music with the software, not on the musical quality of what you make.
By far the best choice for this is Apple’s GarageBand It’s very easy to work with. And it has a very large library of pre-recorded loops. We are primarily interested, in this course, in loop-based production. I’m strongly recommending GarageBand because it’s free in the Apple ecosystem and because it allows you to make music using pre-recorded “loops.” It’s great if you don’t play an instrument or feel yourself to lack any musical ability.
If you are not using Apple, Garageband can be found in the STAR lab in the Johnson Center. I would strongly recommend going there if you can.
There are some similar programs available in Windows. Most are somewhat expensive, but offer time-limited or partially disabled demos. I would recommend using Garageband in a Lab, but if you insist try:
”Mixcraft” Very Garageband like. Offers a limited time demo Soundnation offers an internet based free demo with limited resources FL Studio has a limited trial edition Cockos Reaper An inexpensive but full featured DAW You can do a search for “windows alternative to Garageband” and you will find a lot of options. But I’d still recommend just using Garageband
You can also get or use a fully featured Digital Audio Workstation. There is a free, open source DAW, Audacity, which is quite good for the price but does not come with a lot of pre-made loops, although you can find third party loops for Audacity. It’s kind of a bare-bones interface.
There is a wide range of professional DAW programs with a wide range of prices. Apple offers Logic, which is a bargain at $200, considering what it comes with, but you probably aren’t eager to spend that much money unless you want to get into music making. Here is a description of some options if you want to get something aimed more at professional use:
A good choice would be Reaper, which is not very expensive and can do most everything you want.
Just using your phone or a tablet for this course is not a good idea–it will work best on a desktop or laptop.
Also I want to reiterate this isn’t a really a “how to use recording software” class. We will cover a lot, and you will know the basics, but full technical expertise isn’t the goal here.