This is a guest post by one of our teacher authors, Katrina Proctor.
Katrina is also the Content Manager at Midnight Music.
What are play-along videos?
Play-along videos are an easy way for students to energetically participate in their own music learning through active performance. Not only are play-along videos more engaging for most students than playing music on a page, but when students use play-along videos, they have nearly immediate success. Like karaoke tracks which guide a singer through the lyrics of the song as well as the timing, play-along videos help students perform by integrating timing, playing cues, chord changes, and more. The best part? There are an incredible number of free options available online for you to use with your students right away!
Here are some great Halloween-inspired videos from some of the best online play-along music channels.
Sydney Johnson, an elementary teacher from Florida, USA creates fun (and beautiful) play-along videos on her brand new Youtube channel, Ready Go Music. Because she employs primarily rhythm-based sequences (as opposed to melodic), you’re free to interpret the game with any of a number of percussive movements or sounds (clapping, snapping, drumsticks, mouthpieces, or even by playing the rhythm on the tonic note using melodic instruments).
For younger students especially, the more movement you can incorporate into the rhythmic sequences, the more they will enjoy the extra challenge (and appreciate the movement break). For example, you could make quarter notes=clap, quarter rest=stomp, eighth notes=pat legs etc. Students can even make their own creepy sounds (like a witch cackle or a ghosty “Boo”)! For a final challenge, have students work in small groups to compose their own rhythmic ensemble and perform for the rest of the class.
Contains: Quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth notes, and half notes.
Contains: Quarter Notes, Quarter Rests, Eighth notes, Half Notes, Sixteenth Notes, Dotted Quarter Notes, and Single Eighth Notes.
Contains: Quarter Notes, Quarter Rests, Half Notes, Triplets.
Musication, one of the long-time favorite play-along channels on Midnight Music, provides truly wonderful boomwhacker play-along videos. Though they market themselves for boomwhackers specifically, you can also consider having students play any of these songs on other melodic instruments such as beginning band instruments and piano, or you can even have students play the melody notes on guitar or ukulele (melody is often overlooked for beginners on these instruments in favor of chords, but in my experience, students enjoy learning melody just as much and it helps extend their overall growth).
Boomwhackers/notes played: (low)C, E, F#, G, A, B, (high)C
Boomwhackers/notes played: A, (low)C, D, D#, E, G, G#, B, (high)C
The Musication description for this video suggests, “Split the class in two groups, so one group (with octavator caps) follows the “Icon Ghost” and the other group follows ‘slimer’.”
Boomwhackers/notes played: (Melody) A, Bb, C, D, Eb, E, F | (Bass) C, E, F, G, A, Bb
Boomwhackers/notes played: D, E, F, G, A, Bb
Another wonderful play-along resource is the ‘ukeplayalongs’ Youtube channel for ukuleles.. You can also consider using these videos to play-along with pianos or guitars, or you can play the tonic notes on melodic instruments or boomwhackers. There are endless possibilities.
If some of these videos are too difficult (the chords go too quickly or your students are beginners) an alternative idea is to have different students responsible for different chords or, break the class into smaller groups, each of whom play a different chord or two.
Chords used: G, F#, Bm, D, A, Gm, Em
Chords used: G, Em, C, D
Chords used: Dm, Am7, Gm7, G7, Fdim7, F, Bb7, Bb, A7, Gsus4, G
I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of Halloween play-along videos! If you’re interested in even more play-along videos, there is a wonderful collection of highlighted Youtube channels and playlists posted on the Midnight Music blog here: 15 Youtube Play-Along Channels & Playlists for Music Teachers.
Do you have any favorite play-along Halloween videos not covered here? Be sure to leave a comment below!
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About the Writer
Katrina Proctor is the Content Manager at Midnight Music and is also a music teacher from Colorado, USA. She has taught middle school music for nearly 10 years in northern Colorado where her passion is low-income students in Title 1 schools. Currently, Katrina teaches 5th-8th grade chorus, advanced-level chorus, class piano, and general music. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education & Master’s Degree in Music Education-Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can connect with Katrina on Facebook or via her website, She The Teacher.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.