As many people continue to work remotely, we’ve had to get creative on how to reach the people we serve. When August came around, schools reopened for in-person, hybrid, or remote classes. This posed a new problem for those in the education setting, including related services.
One of my contract locations is a specialized school for children with autism. This school has been fully remote since March, including their summer school program. The change was huge for these students, and we wanted music therapy to still be a part of their remote learning so they could continue to work on their skills. This also provided a much needed dose of some normalcy in their lives!
It was quickly evident that music therapy sessions held live via Zoom would not be ideal for these students, as their classes were scattered amongst group homes and between those who live with their caregivers. Thus, having a recorded music therapy video sent to them each week proved to be the most effective and efficient method. So, how did I go about doing this? Let’s talk it through.
The Recording Space
I recorded my videos at the Music Therapy Connections office. This way I could keep my background consistent across the videos each week. Choose a room that has a blank wall, or as blank as you can make it! This reduces possible distractions in your background.
I simply recorded the videos on my iPhone! I set up a music stand that held my music, and set up my phone right on top. I use the self-facing camera so that I can see myself while I’m recording. This helps me identify when I need to use more facial expressions or show more energy.
As someone who is a perfectionist, recording one long 20-25 minute video seemed nearly impossible to do without messing up at least once. Not only would these videos be a great tool for students, but this may be the only time parents and caregivers get to see what our music therapy sessions are like. I felt a bit of pressure! Thus, I decided to record one song at a time and then use software to put it all together.
I am so thankful to have this program at my fingertips. iMovie is an easy way for me to put together and edit all of my music therapy videos. Not only can you insert multiple videos and create a longer “movie”, but you can also insert images. This has been huge for my clientele. We use lots of visuals during our in-person sessions, and being able to insert them directly into each video is so beneficial.
In order to download your videos and images into iMovie, click the downward arrow at the top left corner of the iMovie window. From there, it will bring up a box where you can click on what you need in the movie and then click the “Import All/Selected” button. Then these videos and images will appear in your “My Media” tab in iMovie. All you need to do now is drag and drop them into the video!
*If you want to insert an image during a song, make sure to drop the image directly above the video reel! This way, the image will appear without interrupting the video.
Sharing the Video
I download my completed video to Dropbox and also create an unlisted version on YouTube. Both of these platforms provide the option of copying a link to the video and sharing it with your students. I copy and paste the links directly to the school’s platform of choice, ClassDojo, along with a PDF of the objectives and lyrics to each song.
Tips and Things to Consider
Creating videos to share with your clients requires a lot of energy. You’re not there in person, and the screen seems to diminish any excitement you show. Overdo it and be over the top! This will help with the clients’ engagement and attention while they watch your video.
I also like to still ask the questions I would typically ask during an in-person session. Ask the question and then pause, allowing the students a chance to answer while watching. I definitely feel a bit like Steve from Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer, but it’s important to still provide those opportunities for success.
I use iMovie on my Macbook Pro. If you do not have an Apple computer or would prefer a different software, there are several other options available; however, I only have experience with iMovie. If you prefer a different software, please share it with us in the comments!
There have been some situations in which watching a video is not possible or ideal. Thus, I also provide the students with CDs and/or Dropbox playlists that contain the music we use in the video sessions as well as a packet of lyrics and step-by-step instructions to facilitate a purposeful activity with each song.
Sometimes reaching our clients remotely can be a big challenge! This is how I’ve reached my clients in a school setting. Do you work in the education field? What adaptations to your environment and instruction have you had to make?