Monday Mailbag – Using Video with Your Students

I saw your YouTube station. Does it take a lot to have your own “station” where your students can view your stuff? Could you explain how you do it? How do you video students and have them view it on the spot? Do you do that? That would have to be done with a laptop, right?

It’s incredibly easy to set up a YouTube station. It’s considerably less so to navigate the site and figure things out once you’re signed in! YouTube is definitely not the most intuitive site I’ve used, but it is well worth it to set up an account and put in the time to figure it out. It’s actually very simple to use once you figure out how to navigate to the right options. There are a ton of features that I haven’t fully tapped into yet, but I’ve actually been exploring some of the options more in depth recently and had fun experimenting with uploading directly from my phone!

YouTube is the largest on-line video repository, but there are a number of other sites that provide similar services. Here’s a webpage that has a Video Embedding Comparison that I found helpful. Here’s another Online Video Sharing Comparison Matrix that gives a handy overview of the plethora of options.

If you opt to go with YouTube, once you sign up and sign in to your account, it’s as easy as clicking the “Upload” link and then either selecting the video file from your computer or choosing the “Record from webcam” option. YouTube supports a wide variety of video file formats. I have used clips from my camcorder, the lesser quality video recording feature on my digital camera, and (as I mentioned above) even from the video capabilities on my phone. With the camcorder and camera options, I just upload/transfer the video to my computer first and then it is available to upload to YouTube. With my phone, I was able to send it directly to YouTube using the unique address provided for my channel.

If you use the “Record from webcam” option, you either need a built-in webcam on your computer or a stand-alone webcam that can be purchased from any computer store. They are relatively inexpensive and would probably allow for even greater flexibility with placement than a built-in webcam (you should have seen the contortions I had to go through with my laptop when I was doing Skype lessons with a student in order to demonstrate something on the piano to her! :-)).

Uploading video clips to the computer and/or YouTube gives the student a larger image to view, but I frequently just do all the filming and viewing from the camera for the sake of time. Even seeing a small image and listening to less-than-pristine sound quality can give them a better perspective of their playing and help them understand what improvements need to be made.

If you’ve been trying to decide whether or not to set up an online video sharing account for your studio, I hope you give it a try. It’s a ton of fun! And keep in mind that you can make your channel public (viewable to anyone) or private (restricted to those to whom you grant access), so that you can protect the privacy of your students, if necessary. I have my studio families sign a release form granting permission to post their picture on-line. And they are always thrilled when I tell them that I’m going to post their performance on YouTube! 🙂

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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