Inexpensive, portable video recorders can be used for many reasons in a music classroom. Most of today’s recorders store video on computer memory chips, or on the camera itself (internal memory chip). This makes it easy to transfer, usually via a USB connection, to a computer for viewing and storage.
Flip cameras have been all the rage, but Cisco Corporation (makers of the Flip Cameras), recently decided to discontinue their production. There are many alternatives to Flips, by such as Kodak, Creative, Sony, and Sanyo.
Students may be recorded for assessment purposes. This is so much better than just an audio recording – you can now see bow holds, posture, hand position, and more! I have found that, while watching video tapes takes longer than listening to students play in class, I can better assess each student, rewinding where necessary.
Capturing videos of playing tests doesn’t have to disrupt your class!! During my rehearsal, I can send a stand of players (usually just 2) out to take their test in the hallway or practice room. When they are finished, they bring the camera back in, pass it on to the next stand, and so on. My rehearsal continues as normal, but by the end of the class every student has taken their test. If you have multiple cameras (and multiple test-taking locations) this process goes rather quickly. If you only have one camera, it may take several class periods, depending on the size of the class.
Archival/Student Digital Portfolio
Once the recording is done, I can watch each of them. Imagine having a video of every student’s playing test from their 6th grade year through 12th grade. What a great record of progress! This is my plan. I plan on keeping every recorded video of every student for years, creating a unique digital portfolio. After some time, I can then go back and show students their progress and improvement.
Having videos on hand is also great to show parents, especially when they question their child’s grade or administration, should the need arise.
Online Supplemental Instruction
Did one of your students ever miss class and then return to class feeling like they missed something? You can now record yourself teaching a new technique, or a new section of a piece of music, then post it online for your students to view.
Don’t worry about being fancy by editing, adding titles, or extras — students just want the information and want it quickly.
You can post your videos online several ways — through a website/blog you already have or even on YouTube. Creating a YouTube “channel” is pretty simple. You will need a Google account (either one you already have or a new one). I created my account using my SCHOOL email address. This helps me keep school-related business separate from personal.
Having your own YouTube Channel can help you organize your content and get more views from students and other YouTube users.