4 Virtual Programming Ideas

Virtual is the new reality – here are 4 virtual program ideas to get you started!

Members of the music staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston describe their approach for virtual instrument lessons, music production sessions and virtual jam sessions on ZOOM as well as how their youth participants are “taking over” their social media accounts to host live concerts. 

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Example #1 – Group Instrument Lessons on Zoom 

“Participants are so grateful for the attention and interaction with instructors and their friends that they will “listen in” to other’s coaching sessions even though the instructors aren’t giving them 100% of their time. ” – Submitted by Daniel “DP” Pattianakotta, Yawkey Club of Roxbury Instagram:  @yawkeymusic YouTube: Yawkey Music Clubhouse
  • Each Zoom call is a group lesson with 3-4 participants at a time 
  • Participants are at various skill levels and working on their own individual songs
  • Lessons typically go for 1 hour and participants take turns muting/unmuting their mic when it’s their turn to play or sing (while other lesson attendees listen in) 
  • Participants play a track or karaoke version of a song (over computer speakers, etc) and then sing or play their instrument along with the track 
  • Instructors check in on each participants progress periodically through the session
  • Some have instruments/equipment while others have been innovative/creative (ie. using an iPad Keyboard app to play their favorite songs). 

Example #2 – Virtual Music Production Sessions 

“Before the shutdown, participants were working on their own original songs with a goal to create an album. I continue to reach out to these participants to encourage them to keep writing and collaborating.” 
Submitted by Brooke Magidson, Yawkey Club of Roxbury Instagram: @yawkeymusic YouTube: Yawkey Music Clubhouse
  • Music Production sessions are individually scheduled 
  • Staff share their computer screen on Zoom and create beats in Logic Pro X with the participants input
  • Before each session: 
    • Send each participant a bounced reference track 
    • Participants can prepare by writing lyrics and practicing their rapping/singing
  • During the Zoom session participants play the track in the background and rap/sing over top of the beat (using their iPhone headphone’s microphone) 
  • Staff listen and coach participants on their lyrics, rhythm, phrasing and “flow”, etc. 
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Participant Guide for Zoom Meetings

Practical help for your participants who are new to Virtual Programming

This downloadable and customizable template includes guidance for your youth participants like:

  • Materials needed to join a Zoom meeting
  • Zoom setup and audio/video settings
  • Common Zoom functions and best practices
  • Participant expectations while on Zoom
  • Links to “getting started” guides and videos

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You will need: 
  • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless
  • Headset/earbuds with microphone
  • Webcam – built-in or USB plug-in

*NOTE: If you are unable to join from Zoom on a computer or mobile device, then you can join on the telephone instead. Dial the phone number provided; then enter the Meeting ID and password when prompted.

*TIP: If you use a headset or earbuds with a mic, be sure to plug those in to your computer before joining the Zoom meeting.

Enter the Zoom meeting using a computer or the zoom app:

Your meeting host will provide the URL to the Zoom room as well as a Meeting ID and a password. Simply click the URL or paste into your browser of choice to open the meeting. You will be asked to provide the Meeting ID and password. This will get you to a “Waiting Room”. The meeting host will then give you permission to join the meeting. Audio and video setup:

After launching the Zoom meeting from the meeting URL, you will be prompted to join the room’s audio. Click “join audio by computer.” Zoom allows audio participation through your computer’s internal speakers, a headset, or a phone line.

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Recommended Zoom Settings and Staff Guidelines

9 Steps to Set up your Virtual Zoom programming and helpful staff guidelines

This downloadable and customizable template includes guidance for your youth participants like:

  • Getting parent consent
  • Signing up for an appropriate Zoom account
  • Setting up meeting features to keep your members as safe as possible
  • Enabling other features that will help you run meetings
  • Enabling cloud recording for special situations
  • Expectations Regarding Mandated Reporting
  • Scheduling a meeting with your members
  • Keeping Meetings On Track
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Step 1: Get parent consent
Step 2: Sign up for an appropriate Zoom account 
  • Pro Accounts are recommended and cost $15 per month and allow you to implement additional safety features. You can sign up for one at https://zoom.us/pricing.
Step 3: Set the meeting features to keep your members as safe as possible (You will only have to do this step once!)

Go to https://zoom.us/account/setting. Scroll down until you reach a section entitled “In Meeting (Basics)” or select “In Meeting (Basics) on the left hand side of your screen. Do the following things:

  • Allow meeting participants to send a message visible to all participants
  • Allow participants to save the chat 
  • Do NOT allow meeting participants to send a private 1:1 messages to another participant 
    • (Note: As the host you will still be able to message participants privately. You should NOT do this! Similarly, if a member messages you privately do NOT respond to them directly as this would violate our “Rule of Three”.)
  • Allow Zoom to automatically save all in-meeting chats
  • Lock all of your selections. 
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Sample Email Templates for Virtual Programming

Customize the following Sample Email Templates to efficiently communicate with Parents/Guardians

This downloadable and customizable template includes guidance for your youth participants like:

  • General Parent/Guardian Permission Request
  • Zoom Programming and Video Release Consent for Live Performances Request
  • Virtual Consent for Xbox Live & Zoom Programming Request

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Dear Parent/Guardian: 

In an effort to continuously serve members during the [Name of Organization] closure, [Name of Organization] staff are providing virtual programming using Zoom.  Zoom allows video conferencing to take place in pre-scheduled classes between [Name of Organization] staff and members.  

In order to participate in virtual programming, you will need the following:

  • A computer, mobile, or tablet device with access to the Internet
  • A quiet space at home in which members can participate 
  • To register for Zoom you will need to provide some customer data, including but not limited to:  your email address and first and last name (for more information, see https://zoom.us/privacy)   

 To maintain safety, virtual programming is being implemented with the following parameters in place:

  • No child will be allowed to participate in virtual programming without advanced permission from a parent/guardian.
  • All virtual programming will be administered by two [Name of Organization] staff

If you consent to having your child use Zoom for virtual programming, please respond to this email with the following message:

  • “I, [PLEASE TYPE YOUR FULL NAME], the parent/guardian of [PLEASE YOUR CHILD’S FULL NAME], give permission for him/her to participate in [Name of Organization] virtual programming at [Name of Organization].”

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

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Sample Parent Consent Using Google Forms

Create your own parent consent form using Google Forms

This downloadable and customizable template helps your organization create a quick and simple parent permission form allowing your participants to join in virtual programming.

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In an effort to continuously serve members during the [Name of Organization] closure, [Name of Organization] is providing distance-based experiences through which staff will facilitate program activities through an online platform. We will use an application provided by a third party that members, parents/guardians and/or staff will access via the Internet and use for purposes of communication and programming. 

This letter seeks consent for your child to utilize the below online platforms for distance-based program purposes.

  • Google Classroom – requires internet and a device to connect; will be used to share projects/activities 
    • If you do not have access to the internet or a device, please contact us (we may be able to help) 
  • Zoom Meeting – requires the internet and a device to connect; used for meetings of Clubs, including [Name of programs], etc. 
  • Email – requires internet and a device to connect; used for communication
  • SchoolCNXT – requires internet access and a tablet/phone to connect through downloaded app or phone number; used for updates and communications
  • [Name of Organization] will also be posting content designed for learning and engagement to [Name of platforms]. However, due to the nature of these platforms, participation cannot be monitored by [Name of Organization] staff.

Please be aware that each site collects different information about its users and has its own privacy terms and conditions to which members must adhere. Please review these carefully before allowing your member to register for access to various platforms.

Our commitment to keeping the young people we serve safe is always our number one priority. [Name of Organization] will make every effort to protect member information as they use these platforms for [Name of Organization] programming. Further, all activities online must comply with [Name of Organization] safety policies.

* Required

Name of Children *

Parent/Guardian Phone Number *

Parent/Guardian Email *

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Sample Staff Guidelines for Virtual Programming

Simple Staff Guidelines when conducting Virtual Programming on Zoom 

This downloadable and customizable template gives your music program staff a reference guide for virtual programming, including:

  • Keys to ensuring a successful and safe virtual environment
  • Zoom settings and recommendation
  • Additional information about “Zoombombing” and Privacy Awareness

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Staff Guidelines

As [Name of Organization] Staff create virtual experiences, there are some keys to ensuring a successful and safe environment, these include:

  • Enable a meeting password – eliminates the possibility of youth “guessing” how to get into the meeting.
  • Do not list meetings publicly, or in public places – This further reduces the chance of someone uninvited entering one of your meetings.
  • Turn off (disable) participant recording – This eliminates the possibility that content from your session can be downloaded by members and shared externally. You can do this from the Host Dashboard.
  • Turn off (disable) screen sharing by participants – This eliminates the possibility your members can inadvertently, or intentionally, share content on their screens with others. You can do this from the Host Dashboard In meeting chat allows  participants to send chat messages to other members. 
  • Disable participant to participant private chat – As the host, you can choose who the participants can chat with or to disable chat entirely. Using the “Everyone Publicly” setting complies with 1:1 contact policies.
  • Save a chat log to your computer (locally) – This ensures an audit trail exists. Save chat log at the end of each session, 
  • Prohibit the sharing of – Email address; Social media address(es) or locations to personal profiles; Mobile numbers; Other personally-identifiable information
  • At no point should staff message members directly within the software – All chat should be logged and saved as an audit trail. See above for configuring chat settings appropriately.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – check to see what is in the background of the video both visually and sound wise. 
  • Be cautious of what is on your computer screen/background

Zoombombing, where unexpected individuals are joining meetings and able to take control of presentations and share explicit material (e.g., pornography). Below is the FBI’s current guidance on preventing “Zoom-bombing,” or instances when unauthorized users disrupt online meetings:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screen sharing options. In Zoom, change screen-sharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.
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Back to School “Backpack”

To download the full, Back to School “Backpack” – Click here:

Or… Download by individual links or categories below:


Icebreakers


Hi! My Name Is… – Name game icebreaker using rap
Lyric Love – Test your knowledge of commonly used lyrics in love songs
Top 10 Debate Club – Debate and defend your favorite top 10 songs
Question Mingle Icebreaker – Big group icebreaker where music is the common language
Be one of the “Cool kids” – download all of the Icebreakers – Click Here:

New Participant Orientation 

New Participant Orientation Process – Welcome new participants and get them making music right away!
Equipment Orientation Worksheets – Quick start worksheets for beginners
Welcome your new participants – download all the New Studio Orientation tools – Click Here:

Programs, Projects and Performances

“Karate Belt” Reward System – Help your participants earn a musical “black belt”
VIP Band ProgramVery Important Participants become Virtuoso Instrument Players!
Music Producer Reward System – Participants earn studio privileges while improving their studio skills!
How to Address Inappropriate Language – Five ways to clean up inappropriate language that you’ll swear by!
Lip Sync battle – Channel your inner “Milli Vanilli” while learning stage presence
Cover Song Challenge – Healthy competition that encourages collaboration, talent and self-esteem
Be Prepared – Pack your bag with the latest program ideas – Click Here:

Essential Supplies

Dropmix – Music Mixing Game – Part game, part DJ mixer, part ear-trainer… ALL fun!
Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice) – Random samples equals endless beat making creativity
Logic Remote as a Midi Control Surface – An iPad works as a control surface to make beats like a pro
Back to school shopping time –download all Essential Supplies – Click Here:

It’s not cheating… Go ahead, just download the whole thing – Click here:

Resources for Virtual Music Programming

Please send resource recommendations to info@musicimpactnetwork.org

Page Updated – Monday May 11, 2020


Virtual Programming Starter Resources

Customizable templates for recommended Zoom settings, staff guidelines, parent waivers/permission forms, sample email communications and participant guidelines.

Recommended Zoom Settings and Staff Guidelines
9 Steps to Set up your Zoom account and helpful staff guidelines

Sample Staff Guidelines for Virtual Programming
Simple Staff Guidelines when conducting Virtual Programming on Zoom

Sample Parent Consent Using Google Forms
Customize your own parent consent form using Google Forms

Sample Email Templates for Virtual Programming
Email Templates to efficiently communicate with Parents/Guardians

Participant Guide for Zoom Meetings
Practical help for your participants who are new to Virtual Programming

4 Virtual Programming Ideas
Members of the music staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston describe their approach for:

  • Group Instrument Lessons on Zoom
  • Virtual Music Production Sessions
  • Virtual Jam “Round Robin” Session
  • Instagram Live “Takeover” Concert

Recommendations on how to properly clean and disinfect your program area and music instruments: 


Virtual Programming Ideas and Resources

 Virtual Programming Ideas

Virtual Group Lessons (Zoom, etc)
Tutorial on how to set up virtual group lessons for any instrument 

Instrument Loaner Program
Resources (Recommended Equipment list and sample parent permission form) to help you set up an instrument Loaner Program.

At Home Resources

Advanced
Berklee Pulse
Berklee Online

Beginner 
Yousician
• Curated Youtube Lessons (ie. Guitar, Ukulele, Piano, Drum pad, Vocals)

 Virtual Programming Ideas

Virtual Beat making/recording sessions (via Zoom, etc) Thanks BuildingBeats.org
Free beat making tutorials and examples of virtual music production projects/sessions 

Rhythm Roulette (Using Splice)
Challenge your participants to a weekly beat making challenge using predetermined samples

At Home Resources

Advanced
Ableton (Free 90 day trial)
Beatmaker 3

Beginner 
BlocsWave
Garageband

 Virtual Programming Ideas

• Virtual Group Lessons (Zoom, etc)
Tutorial on how to set up virtual group lessons or songwriting sessions for vocalists 

• Cover Song Challenge
Set up a weekly Cover Song competition to encourage virtual collaboration and music making

At Home Resources

Advanced & Beginner
TikTok
Acapella
Voloco

 Virtual Programming Ideas

• Zoom Concert Watch Party
Schedule a regular time to meet up with participants to watch a virtual concert (using “screen share”) Examples: Beyoncé Homecoming, HipHop Evolution, or favorite artists on YouTube. 

Virtual Karaoke Party
Tutorial on how to set up a virtual Karaoke party with your participants (complete with a Google Doc best practice

At Home Resources

Advanced & Beginner
New York Vocal Coaching
Chrome Music Lab
Sampulator
You DJ


Music Making Resources

• Ableton (Free 90 day trial) – Professional level beat making software
ProTools First – Free version of Industry standard software

Soundtrap – (also has a phone App) Collaborate on beats/tracks with friends 

• Bandlab – (also has a phone App) Collaborate on beats/tracks with friends 

IOS and Android compatible:
Zenbeats – Make beats with classic Roland Sounds like 808’s
BlocsWave – Loop-based app to explore, create and record your music
LaunchPad – Instantly create and remix music
Acapella – Connect, collaborate and create music with friends who love to sing and play instruments.

IOS only:
Beatmaker 3 – Professional DAW powered by a mobile device
Garageband – Turn your iPad, and iPhone into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio
Reason Compact – Your pocket music studio
Reason Take – Record your ideas anywhere… just Sing, hum, rap, or strum.
“Drop a Beat” Apple App Story – Collection of other popular music making Apps for IOS

Android only:
Best Music Making Apps – Collection of other popular music making Apps for IOS

Mobile Permission – Send Permission Slips to Parents’ cell phones
Bloomz – The #1 App for All Your Classroom Communication
• Remind – Communication for the school, home, and everywhere in between.
Crew – The connected frontline workplace


Professional Development Resources

Music Impact Network – Free program resources for after school music programs
Groove3 – Pro-quality Recording studio video tutorials

Henny Tha Bizness – Professional iPad music Producer
• Genius Deconstructed – How to make a hit with the industry’s top producers
• Pensado’s Place “Into the Lair” – Engineering and Mixing Tutorials with Dave Pensado


Please send resource recommendations to info@musicimpactnetwork.org

Creative Virtual Programming Ideas

Rubik’s Cube Beat

Check out this cool Rubik's Cube Beat put together by Will, our Music Clubhouse Coordinator. You can tap into your creative side at home too. For you it might look like creating your own beat, like Will did, or it could be drawing, writing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, cooking or any other form of expression you choose. Let us know in the comments how you're tapping into your creative side.

Posted by West End House on Monday, March 30, 2020
BGCD At Home Announces The Masked Singer!

BGCD At Home is excited to announce our very own version of The Masked Singer! Episodes will be posted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm on both our Facebook and YouTube pages. Members and families have 24 hours to vote/comment on who they think lost and the loser will need to reveal themselves the next day. See you for the premier tomorrow at 8pm! #WeAreDorchester

Posted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester on Monday, March 30, 2020
BGCD At Home: The Masked Singer (Episode 1)

BGCD presents Episode 1 of our new series, The Masked Singer! Who do you think lost this round?You have 24 hours to vote and that person will have to reveal themselves! #WeAreDorchester

Posted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

More Curated Resources

Instrument Loaner Program

The Instrument Loaner Program provides participants with instruments at home giving them the opportunity to continue music lessons, regular practice and increase their creativity.

Recommended Equipment: 

Music Production Kit – $220
Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Recording Bundle
Singer/Songwriter Kit – $150
Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone Bundle
Acoustic Guitar Kit – $170
Yamaha JR1 (w/bag)($150/ea, Tuner – $10/ea, Picks – $3.50/pack, Strap $6/ea) 
Ukulele Kit – $60 
Kala Ukulele Starter Kit
Drum pad/sticks Kit – $25 
Evans RealFeel Drum Pad and Drumsticks
Piano Kit – $120
Casio Casiotone CT-S200

Example Requirements – Below are some examples that other organizations have used – Customize the requirements to meet your needs: 

  • Permissions – Parent Permission and registration materials (see sample below) 
  • Participation – Participation in virtual workshops and performances and 150-word essay answering – “What are the musical goals you hope to accomplish?”
  • Equipment – Participants and parents assume responsibility of caring for instruments and damage (other than general wear and tear) and Prompt return at Loan Due Return Date

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Using the Nashville Number System to Create Bands

Skip instrument “lessons” and get participants to play in bands from day #1

Give your participants the ultimate musical experience by getting them to play their favorite songs in a band on the very first day. Youth participants are empowered by choosing their instrument, song, bandmates and stage name. Your role is to simplify the chord progressions or drum beats (ie. root notes) and get the band to play along with the recording while performing on stage. Instead of weekly “lessons,” participants attend a regular band rehearsal with the goal of performing at a showcase performance each month. Help participants feel like a “star” in front of their peers while motivating them to improve on their skills. 

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How to… 

Before participants arrive 

  • Prepare an approved Song List on a white board (ie. popular songs for participants to choose from) 
    • Limited song options from a common playlist gives participants a sense “guided choice” 
    • Allows the staff to prepare learning materials for a realistic amount of songs, including, tempo/key signature, progression shorthand (ie. Nashville # system), and song form
    • Add individual progressions for Verse, Chorus, Pre-Chorus, Bridge, etc. 
    • Print lyric sheets (if needed) 
      • Create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music for quick access
  • Tape and label instruments
Guitar/bassPiano 
Use white Gaffers tape to label frets with chord function. Move tape for each songParticipants play root notes using one finger on one stringLabel keys with chord function using tape or dry erase markersParticipants play root notes using one finger 
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