Video - the great communicator.

Video is the great communication medium of our time, now open to any one of us, as the hardware and software are no longer the preserve of the big kids in broadcasting corporations.

Increasingly, there is a convergence of media; the edges between audio, video, images, text and interactivity are blurred, so I encourage musicians to come out from behind their instruments and mixers and see themselves as media artists, not just music artists.

Making video is surprisingly easy. Digital video cameras are affordable and basic video editing software is freely available (iMovie on a Mac and Movie Maker on a PC). And many of us walk around with video cameras in our pockets (on phones) or on our computers (webcams). Video communicates online more powerfully than any other medium and the enormous popularity of YouTube demonstrates user-created video sits comfortably with our social and cultural evolution, brought on by the digital revolution. Sound and images enliven each other.

For music performance, video is a tremendous aid. Video record a transient event (a music performance), post the video in a forum and you have a fantastic stimulus for review and reflection. Don't worry about achieving broadcast quality, the content is more important than the technical quality!

Screencasts or video slideshows are great revision tools. Here's a screencast (a video recording of computer screen movements with a narration) about chords on a major scale.


YouTube is more than just a social space to upload your videos; it has a few other features that are valuable to music and learning.
Most videos (and there are many music videos and performances available on YouTube) have an embed code - a string of nonsense that, when pasted into a page like this - plays the video, without having to download from one site an upload it to another. So you could use a wiki for teaching resources, that could easily include online videos (not just YouTube). I've done just that for a module called Sound For Media. And if you amass a collection of reference videos, try making a playlist in YouTube, so that you can access all the videos more easily.


Another valuable feature of YouTube is annotations. Add text boxes to a video, timed to appear at specific moments. Here's an example of how the tool might be used to attach analysis of your own work directly to a piece of music.