MGS -- Enrichment Possibilities Through Videos

April 30, 1992

This is a note directed to teachers of music in general studies courses and to teachers of other literature courses. It is to encourage you to consider whether your courses could benefit from upgrading and updating your visual enrichment materials and from using them, perhaps, in a more systematic and substantial way-beyond having your graduate assistant show a @ while you are off to a CMS meeting. And don't overlook the potential of using videos to help you learn about unfamiliar repertoires.

The display of videos in schools constitutes a public performance, which is protected. Most are licensed for home use only but include a classroom "emption. Those that do not would likely be classified as entertainment and would fall in the feature film category.

This exemption to the license, available only to not-for-profit educational institutions, is for showing face-to-face in classrooms and libraries for instructional purposes. Broadcasting and other transmission from an outside location into classrooms is not permitted under this exemption, whether by radio or television, and whether open or closed circuit. Audiences must be confined to the members of a particular class. Copies of a protected work may not be made for use in the classroom.

A tremendous number of VHS music video programs are available; Variety lists 2,337 of diem. Most educational and cultural videos cost under forty dollars, many under twenty dollar. A large number were produced in the past several years. As producers of CD recordings have re-mastered many old, worthwhile recordings, video producers have brought out from the archives many outstanding performances and interviews, creating informative and insightful documentaries.

Standard musicals, ballets, operas and symphonic works are readily available in complete performances. "How to..." videos are abundant. The MTV-type entertainment videos, not included in the Variety list, are intended to promote single artists or songs and are not classified as educational or cultural.

Video programs can help students and teachers learn more about various cultures and musical styles by viewing musicians, their performance practices, and the social contexts in which they perform.

As examples, from hearing and seeing Jean Ritchie, Judy Collins, and Jessye Norman in Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers, one gets a sense not only of the diversity of various subcultures within our society but of the extent to which music can communicate and be very important in people's lives. From watching We Shall Overcome with Pete Seeger, one becomes aware of how a simple, little song can rally not only individuals but a nation.

If you want to teach the blues, let Alan Lomax help you through his PBS American Patchwork program, Land Where the Blues Began. If you use the CD A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, why not use the video of the same title?

If you want to present Miles Davis's rendition of "So What," watch and listen to it on Vintage Collection, vol. 2, or watch and listen to Thelonious Monk play "Blue Monk" in Vintage Collection, vol. 1, and "'Round Midnight" in Music in Monk Time.

Use videos to present the lives and music of composers, such as Monteverdi, Bach, Stravinsky, Ives, Cage, and Glass. Use videos to present opera, ballet, and symphonies. Collections are common. Many are uninterrupted performances; others include commentary.

A vast quantity of video programs are available that present virtually any style of music. With wise selection and a commitment to using them as an integral part of teaching, they will enhance the learning process.

2556 Last modified on May 2, 2013
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