Digital Media: Learn to Use Audacity to Create Audio Recordings

Lesson Topic:

Learn to use Audacity audio recording software

Lesson Description:

Audio recording is an important component of digital media productions.  In this lesson students will make a short recording to learn the basics of Audacity, a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software, available for Windows, macOS/OS X and Unix-like operating systems. 

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

  • Use Audacity to create an audio recording
  • Edit an audio recording by trimming unwanted portions, setting volume and adjusting pitch
  • Save the audio recording as a native Audacity file
  • Export the native file to a *.wav file with an appropriate file name

Nebraska Standards:

Nebraska Standards:

CIS.HS.1.4  Plan, produce, edit, and publish digital audio.

CIS.HS.1.4.b Capture an audio recording.
CIS.HS.1.4.c Edit digital audio (e.g., trim, delete, add special effects).
CIS.HS.1.4.d Select appropriate file type for publishing.

Teacher Planning:

Equipment/Materials/Software Needed:

  • Computers
  • Headsets with microphones
  • Audacity software

Time Required for Lesson:

20 minutes – demonstration and guided practice and time to practice a recording

25 minutes – create the assigned audio recording


Audacity software will need to be downloaded and installed on lab computers or 1:1 devices used by the students. Software located at:

Audio headsets with microphones or other recording capable devices will need to ready for use to create audio recordings.

Technology Use:


Audacity digital audio editor and recording application software


Computers, audio headsets with microphones or other microphones to use for recording

Instructional Plan:

Anticipatory Set/Pre-Activity:

This will be the introductory lesson for learning to use an audio recording and editing software application to create audio projects.

Benefits/Explanation/Real-World Connection:

Students need to be comfortable with an audio recording software. The skills gained will give students the ability to record and edit audio and combine tracks of audio to create a polished product.   These skills will be transferred to future projects that could include creating public service announcements or creating audio for video productions.

Activities (i.e. instructions, warm-up, lesson, cool-down):

1.  As students arrive to class have them logon to their computers and get their headphones plugged in and ready to use for recording.  Guide them to the Sound settings of their computer system to have them test the playback and recording of their assigned headset.  

2.  Ask students to locate and open the Audacity software program.

3.  Demonstrate to students how the Audacity program works taking them from starting a recording through the editing and publishing process.  Many resources are available to help the teacher learn how to use Audacity. Here is a link to short video for learning about the software:  How to Use Audacity

4.  Use guided practice to have all students record a simple "Test, test, test" file and play it back so they can hear how they sound.

5. Explain the difference between Saving the project to continue editing and mixing in the future vs. exporting the finished production.  Have students practice saving by saving the "test" file in the native format that will give the file extension .aup. Then have the students export (publish) the audio to a .wav or .mp3 file that can be played in any media player.

6.  Give students four or five prompts to choose from and tell them to create a 15 to 30 second recording. For this project, students can create a script to read from as they record or they can just begin talking and make up what they are going to say as they go.

Prompt Examples:       

  • Introduce yourself
  • Give today's weather
  • Open the school's daily announcement and read what's on the calendar for today or this week
  • What is for lunch today?
  • Introduce your school's sports team 

7.  Once students have a recording, encourage them to explore the special effects within the program that will allow them to enhance their recording.  Some suggestions are to give a deeper voice a high-pitched "chipmunk" like voice or adjust the speed to have a slow-speaking voice communicate in double time.  Students should practice trimming unwanted portions of the recording. Example:  extra time at the beginning and ending of the recording to eliminate the quiet and reduce the time

8.  (Optional)  Students can add a background music track that is appropriate for their recording.

Free music resources:   

9.  Students will save and publish their finished recording and upload to the LMS.


Ask students what challenges they had as they were recording the audio.  (Responses might include:  microphone did not work, forgot to export as a .wav.)

Ask why time management skills are important to completing a project such as an audio recording?  (Responses might include: it's easy to spend a lot of time playing with the different mixing options)

Have students name some ways they might use this software for future projects.

Assessment :

Observation of students as they are creating the audio piece will indicate whether they are mastering the software.

Students will turn in a produced audio recording exported as a .wav or .mp3 file.

Supplemental Information:


Safety Precautions:

Comments (adaptations for various grades/ages, teaching styles, etc.)

Students are sometimes uncomfortable talking "in front of people" and will have a hard time starting the recording process.  If a student does not want to record during class time, they could come in during a study hall period or homeroom time to complete their recording or have the assignment as homework and record before or after school on their 1:1 device. 

Students often times have a hard time thinking of what to say.  Have students create the script by writing down what they plan to say and then read from the script to create their recording.  If writing a script is difficult, have a prepared script such as the daily announcements or the day's lunch menu ready to share with students for them to read for their recording.



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