Sunday, April 17, 2011

YouTube: Classroom Music Teaching resources:

Topic 2: YouTube in Education

A quick search of YouTube's hundreds of thousands of video clips will reveal many educational video recources, from popular How To guides to K12 teacher groups focused on recorded lessons and instructional videos. These videos and range from highly academic, to highly amusing, for example this amusing video clip explaining to students of the I.S. 109 school of Queens, NY why they have to tuck their shirts in when they come to school.
If you wanted to be more SPECIFIC in searching for teaching resources online, then it would be better to go to teacher-specific sites e.g. TeacherTube and WatchKnow aggregate thousands of videos from educators, YouTube, and the rest of the Web. Basically these sites are clearinghouses of educational videos that cover most school subjects, categorized by subject and education level. WatchKnow has a review panel of educators and educational video experts that check videos from first-time submitters before posting.

 Another option is to upload your own videos on YouTube, or indeed just on your computer. With a simple web cam and the free MovieMaker utility included with Windows XP (or iMovie in a Mac), you can edit the recording, add subtitles and effects, and save it in the right format.

With the regular YouTube account, you are allowed to upload up to 10 minutes of movie time per clip, or up to 100MB. To be able to upload longer videos, you must apply for a Director account, which you can get, pending authorization.  Uploading the file is very simple. You can type in a title, description, and keywords, and choose the category you would like it to appear in. You can also choose whether to make the video public, or to allow only invited individuals to see it. Once the video is uploaded, you can send a link to it through e-mail, or embed it in any blog or a web page.


YouTube: Advantages in Classroom Music Education

Topic 2: YouTube in Education

Though YouTube is blocked in many classrooms because of inappropriate materials on the site, there are many valuable (and downloadable) videos that do further learning.
For a music teacher, YouTube is a gold mine of performances, performance reviews, musician interviews, and music lessons. Video, perhaps more than any other medium, has the power to engage, enlighten, and fascinate your students. We can see and observe and listen. Not just listen and read.

By using a popular medium like YouTube,  you are fitting into your students existing habits and surroundings, making it easy for them to access your material, and projecting a more updated image for your class or school. 

"A lot of students these days expect information to be presented in a flashy, entertaining way, so videos can help draw them in," says Larry Sanger, executive director of WatchKnow, a site that collects education-related videos.

 "YouTube is not necessary for good teaching," writes Christopher Conway from Inside Higher Education, "in the same way that wheeling a VCR into the classroom is not necessary, or bringing in PowerPoint slide shows with images, or audio recordings. YouTube simply makes more resources available to teachers than ever before, and allows for better classroom management. Rather than use up valuable time in class watching a film or video clips, such media can be assigned to students as homework in the same way that reading is assigned." 

YouTube: Disadvantages in Classroom Music Education

Topic 2: YouTube in Education

If humans make an invention, there will be flaws. We can find evidence of this in just about every human invention in the world – human inventions have flaws like humans themselves. YouTube although one of the best inventions in the world to bring the world together in global harmony, it can also cause problems for teachers and students alike in small situations that can turn big:

Teachers have problems with YouTube when it comes to classroom distraction – how can they embrace such a great educational tool, when members of the class get off task in a computer class by surfing random inappropriate content? How can teachers protect the kids from viewing inappropriate content and keep them on task? Unless a firewall is placed in the school that blocks YouTube, strict rules need to be established in the classroom, for when it should be appropriately used.

Students, have issues with YouTube in different ways – cyber bullying the obvious antagonist.
Although YouTube was created as an enjoyable share site, the video blogging that occurs on YouTube can also include the less desirable activity of cyber bullying,  (using technology and electronic media to harass another). This is a common practice, especially for kids, who are spending less time on the playground and more time at a computer. In today's world, it's important to understand how such bullying works and how applications like YouTube are used so we can help prevent this cowardly behavior from happening. Cyber bullying is especially bad, because it follows kids into their bedrooms – it’s not just something that happens in a face-to-face encounter.

To some, YouTube remains a mystery. Is it evil or good? As Lange, postdoctoral fellow in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California observes, “people who do not regularly participate on YouTube may not understand why people watch seemingly poor quality or odd videos.  The answer to the question “why do you’ Tube” is as broad as the answer to the question “why do human communicate?”

Just like a community, YouTube is made up of those who fit and those who do not fit well with norms and rules of a good society. Those who do not play well with others have long plagued Internet communities – YouTube is a perfect example. The people who post rude and often racist, sexist, homophobic, or obscene messages are just like those people. It won’t be a big issue if YouTube set some regulations properly. But YouTube was designed for the whole purpose of ‘freedom to post’, unless it’s copyrighted, or illegal – it’s basically freedom of speech.

Some countries like China and India find this provocative and have blocked YouTube all together on a number of occasions. To give a definite answer as to whether YouTube should be banned or not because of inappropriate content is quite controversial.

 In my opinion, I think it’s a good example of how we are tested as humans to do the right thing, and to use our common sense in how to make the best out of this fantastic internet site.

YouTube: Practical Education/YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Topic 2: Youtube in Education

For the most part, posting a video of yourself playing a piece of music, whether it be yourself in a band, or simple solo – can be rewarding. Many people who watch your video will be happy to give you constructive comments, although these comments will range from total praise, to technical advice, to insults, possible fights between the people commenting, and stuff that is neither constructive nor insulting (just non-relevant).

A great example of how YouTube has been put to practical use for aspiring musicians in the last few years is a phenomenon known as the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra was launched in 2008, and is an orchestra that is made of musicians who have auditioned via posting their audition on YouTube. Every year, the orchestra reviews a new round of auditions, and whoever plays best wins a place for that year. (If you pass the audition one year, doesn’t necessarily mean you win it the next year.)
Anyone can audition – just like anyone can watch YouTube. YouTube Symphony does not require any plane flights to the audition; it does not require the stress of having a wasted trip for nothing. It allows its auditionees to audition within the comfort of their own surroundings – ranging from their home concert halls to their own bedrooms.  They perform better, and they perform more honestly.

In 2010, Following this online auditioning for and voting process, the YouTube Symphony initiative selected 101 orchestral musicians and soloists (including four Australians) from thousands of applicants in over thirty countries to come together in performances held at the Sydney Opera House and broadcast live via satellite to YouTube viewers all over the world. The participants were coached in a week of rehearsals with San Francisco-based conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and mentors from the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. Many of the pre audition tutorials were on YouTube.
E.g. for Trumpet:
‘The worldwide audience figures announced and confirmed a total of 33 million people watched the YouTube Symphony Orchestra finale. This includes 11.1 million live streams of the three-and-a-half-hour event, displacing rock band U2 as the most-watched live music concert online. After the initial live presentation, a further 19.1 million streams followed in the next 24 hours. Approximately 2.8 million people tuned in on mobile phones: the biggest-ever YouTube mobile live stream.’,youtube-symphony-attracts-33-million-views-worldwide.aspx
It’s an example of the extreme of how YouTube can be put to good practical use for musicians. I know I will certainly audition for 2012!

YouTube: Observations on Truth & Globalization

Topic 2: Youtube in Education

The world, in my opinion is becoming fairer.  As humans, we are learning about our world at a terrific rate thanks to globalization. The star sign people call this ‘the age of Aquarius’, according  – the age when the truth is revealed.  YouTube is one of the vehicles for this truth. A sweeping statement, yes, but one I would like to put out there.  

YouTube is an opportunity to make people feel more aware of where they are in the world. Are we as crazy as we seem, or are we just like every other human trying to put ourselves out there in finding answers?

Are we that different from people overseas? Is a kid playing guitar in his bedroom in America really that different from a kid playing guitar in his bedroom in Australia or Thailand or Brazil? Students, especially music students can find out the truth of where they stand in the world. They can surf YouTube for many answers, whether it is related to schoolwork or related to life in general. It may take many contrasting videos of a certain topic to learn that there is a connecting message between them, which will give the answers they require.  Sometimes they may not get any answers, which really – is an answer within itself.

When we want answers we can find them, at every corner.  We now have the ability to find out the truth about ourselves in a world context, not just in the context of our own school, music institution, or country.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Creation: Sibelius/Finale & Garageband

Topic 1: The best ICT tools to assist in Music Education

Sibelius and Finale are arguably the ‘veterans’ of the composing world. Back in the olden days before computers, composers were restricted to composing their music on the Piano, to get any idea how it sounded. Others had to do it strictly from being able to hear it in their heads and notating it down on manuscript paper. We now live in a world where students or teachers do not necessarily have to be piano players to hear how their compositions will sound when played.
These programs can play back to you exactly what you write. You can write for any instrument, and there is a playback system option, you can put all forms of music expression in, there are also tools to help you with using the site.
The only drawback to Sibelius and Finale composing is that you hear EXACTLY what you write but only in a computer generated form. The technologies have improved for these programs where the instruments sound more ‘real’ although of course nothing beats the real thing when played live by live people. It is therefore important that the teacher can remind the students of this, and make sure that they can imagine the music that they are composing being played by a live person.
For a composer who has no knowledge yet of how to notate music, Garageband is also a very good basic composition program to use in the classroom. Instead of notating music, you can either record your music into a track, and/or make use of the loop tracks available on the Garageband program.  This program would be especially useful to get kids interested in layering music tracks on top of themselves to get a final product.