Movies In The Music Room: Valuable Tools For Teaching

Today's elementary students are digital natives; they have been raised with video screens in every room and car. Video is everywhere! Bringing appropriate video into the music classroom can address different learning styles, present authentic, real world examples of music concepts and performances, and give your teacher voice just a few minutes of break.

Here are some thoughts on using movies as teaching tools in an elementary music classroom.


Determine your learning objectives and sequence of instruction.  Consider where the video will fit into the learning sequence.  Will it serve as an introduction, information, demonstration, or as the culmination of the unit?  Short video segments often fit the bill, so make your selection wisely.  Some possibile uses for video within an instructional unit include:

  • Introduction, or hook
  • Demonstration
  • Discussion starter
  • Virtual field trip
  • Concert performance
  • Mini lesson
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Flip a lesson


Always plan before, during, and after activities to solidify the learning impact.  In other words, integrate the video into a student-centered lesson, rather than using it as a stand-alone piece.

Before Viewing

  • Connect with prior knowledge
  • Present new vocabulary
  • Make predictions
  • Challenge students with "what to look for" questions

During Viewing

  • Pause as necessary to check for understanding
  • Integrate questions into the video
  • Consider segmenting longer videos to allow students to engage with smaller chunks of information

After Viewing

  • Reflect on learning
  • Discuss implications for current music making
  • Use concepts or information in some way


Be certain to confirm administration and district policies on using movies in the classroom.  I have heard that some principals will not allow more than a 2-3 minute clip.  Others will not allow videos for subs. Because policies vary from school to school, it is very important to know the expectations in your own school.

It is also very important to follow copyright laws.  The following links provide easy to understand information concerning copyrights, how they apply to educational institutions, and how to teach students about copyrights:


Movies and video can deliver powerful impact to students, develop media literacy and critical thinking skills.  Carefully selected video addresses standards in a clear and vivid way, reaching students through their various senses.

Additional resources on using movies as teaching tools:
Why Use Video?
Why Use Video in the Classroom?
How to Use Online Video in Your Classroom
Educational Videos:  10 Ways to Use Them Well
Effective Educational Videos

 For a listing of video resources that address specific music education needs, please check out Building Your Video Library on the TpT Music Crew Blog!


1 comment:

  1. I agree completely. Video is a more interactive and interesting way to impart knowledge to children. They pay attention to moving screens more often.