YouTube has completely revolutionized music and music education. Not only are thousands of rehearsals and performances at our fingertips, but music education lessons are constantly being uploaded. I discovered THIS folk round being taught by Dr. Robert Amchin.
Instead of me teaching the piece, I showed the video to my class. Straight up. Very little introduction, the video WAS the introduction. We (not the children while I worked on something at my desk, I actively participated watching and learning with them). Then we watched the video again. This time we followed along, just as if we were the students in the video. By the end of the video we really didn't need it any more and had learned it completely on our own.
WHY THIS WAS AWESOME
1. Learn by Seeing
We live in a "learn by seeing" world.
I could have explained and taught this like Dr. Amchin did. But the kids "got it" by seeing it first and thus were much more successful because they saw the end result.
2. They Taught Themselves
Student Based Learning. Project Based Learning.
The song was their project. They learned by watching another group of people learn.
Students, especially middle school students, want to do what everyone else is doing.
I am a white female. A lot of my students are male and a lot aren't white. This video showed a broad range of race and sexuality. Students watched and saw people that looked like them. How awesome!
4. Student/ Classroom Observation
Because I wasn't teaching the lesson I was free to observe classroom dynamics and students' participation.
5. When One Person teaches about a Multi-Person activity
Chorus is a multi-person activity. So it's funny when you think so much of rehearsal modeling is done by one person. Yes, one person can model what one person should do, but so much of choral singing is about acting as an ensemble. Watching and learning an activity/ song through watching and learning from a group was unique, different, and yet effective.
6. How to learn online
As we move to a web-based learning society, students continue to learn more and more through watching videos. I am AMAZED at how many of my students learn instruments by watching online tutorials. For students without online learning experience or who struggle with how to approach it, this shows them: watch, practice, do.
WHY THIS PARTICULAR VIDEO WAS AWESOME...
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN SELECTING YOUTUBE TEACHING VIDEOS
I don't believe that YouTube teaching works for EVERY YouTube video.
Here's some reasons why this particular video was awesome.
1. Length of Time
The video was roughly 6 minutes. Just long enough to clearly explain, but short enough to keep interest and allow us to watch it several times during class.
2. Amazing Teaching
Clearly Dr. Amchin's teaching is clear, succinct, and engaging. The scaffolding is legit. This makes it an easy choice to use in the classroom.
3. Different People
I mentioned this above but I want to reiterate how awesome it was to have a music education video that showed different sexes and races. I also think it helped that these were college-aged students. Young enough to be relevant to secondary students, old enough to demand a sort of respect from students. I don't think a group of middle-aged, white women would have been as effective. (No offense to middle-aged, white women, I'm quick on my way to joining you in the ranks)
The End Result...
Not only did my students learn an awesome song, I did, too! It was far more meaningful for me to learn it with them. Here's a tweet of my 6th grade students performing this in the front lobby of our school because the acoustics are amazing there. I did this with 6, 7, 8 grade students and they all participated and loved it. More to come on why folk dancing and singing is dancing and singing its way into my heart and teaching methods....