3 Virtual Programs Using Flipgrid

Participants create short videos and contribute to virtual ensemble, songwriting, and open mic projects

The novelty of ZOOM is wearing off but many music programs still need virtual solutions to engage their participants.  Flipgrid is a simple, free, and accessible video discussion experience for educators and their participants.  Basically, an “Instagram” type of platform where participants can record and share short videos with their peers while ultimately you control who has access to the projects. 

In addition… 

  • Requires a free subscription and Flipgrid App – https://info.flipgrid.com
    • Music Staff email used to subscribe must be a .org or .edu email domain
    • Participants can use any email to join
  • Benefits of Flipgrid: 
    • Many schools already use it – youth are familiar with it
    • Not public – Videos are only available to participants, staff and parents that you invite 
    • It’s playful and fun (e.g. video effects) 
    • No video/audio compression 
    • Simple and accessible (easier than uploading to google drive, etc)

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How to… 

Example #1 – Virtual Ensemble We’ve all seen the “grid” style virtual ensemble videos and while professional musicians might be able to pull this off with nothing but a key signature and click track, young beginners may need some additional support. 

Example Flipgrid Topic – https://flipgrid.com/cb183dd4
  • Decide on a song and key (cover song or original) 
  • Download professional backing track 
  • Create an audio “Conductor Track” (in a DAW) to help virtually conduct your participants with: 
    • Correct Key
    • Tempo/Click track
    • Song Form verbal cues and count-ins 
    • Performance instructions (e.g. “Don’t forget to smile”, etc) 
    • Video cues (e.g. “turn off your video… now”) 
  • Upload Conductor Track to Flipgrid and share topic link and instructions with your participants 
  • Each participant then “Records a Response” using their cell phone
    • Video of themselves playing along with or singing along with the Conductor Track 
  • Participant instructions (to sync audio and video): 
    • Open Flipgrid App – Click “Record a Response”
    • Open the Conductor Track in Google Drive – press play 
    • Count along with the 1 or 2 measures of the Conductor Track (e.g. “1, 2, 3, 4”) before starting to play or sing. Counting will help sync the audio/video from other participant’s videos 
    • Switch back to Flipgrid to view yourself while recording 
  • Tips for recording in Flipgrid
    • Use your cell phone and a set of earbuds that have a built in microphone
      • This will isolate the audio and video of each participant’s performance 
    • Invite vocalists and instrumentalists to participating until you have a complete track
    • Provide participants with video feedback and have them re-record if necessary 
    • Edit the performances together in iMovie, Final Cut or other video editing software
    • Post for participants, staff and families to see
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Simple Website Portfolio

Build a sense of community among your participants – have them create a custom website portfolio to showcase their musical projects, accomplishments, and dreams! 

Basically everyone has a Gmail account – Google Sites is an easy way for youth participants to highlight their individuality, personal brand, musical creativity and personal accomplishments. Participants customize a template and fill it with content that is all about them.

Click Image Above to See a Sample Participant Portfolio

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How to… 

Benefits: 

  • Build sense of community 
    • Helps create a team environment when you can’t gather in person 
    • Participants can visit each other’s pages, give feedback and advice 
    • Or have participants present drafts on ZOOM screen share 
  • Motivation and sense of accomplishment 
    • Keeping participants motivated without an end goal is difficult (especially when they’re not attending in-person programming) 
    • Uploading a final project to their website portfolio help participants stay on task
    • They’ll always have the website portfolio 
    • Prepares participants for “real-world” situations like applying for jobs or college applications
  • Virtually showcase their creativity 

Process:

  • Have participants Sign-in (or sign-up) to their Gmail account (personal or school) 
  • Go to https://Sites.google.com 
  • Encourage participants (and staff) to create their own live websites using one of Google’s templates
  • Have participants fill their site with: 
    • Background information about them (e.g. their likes, hopes and dreams) 
    • Music that they have been creating (e.g. studio tracks, live videos, lyrics, etc) 
    • Accomplishments (e.g. school or personal achievements) 
    • Civic engagement (e.g. community service or community projects they are involved in) 
    • Virtual Vision Board with their dreams and aspirations 
    • Digital or visual Art and pictures 
  • Participants share their sites with peers, staff, family and friends

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Instrument Loaner Program

Give your participants access to instruments while at home

Covid-19 has been disruptive to many after school programs and many participants can’t afford to have instruments at home.  Give your participants access to instruments and production equipment to help them continue to make music at home. The types of instruments have been specifically selected for at home use and can help music program staff implement virtual lessons and projects.

NOTE: Any featured products are based on the experience and opinions of Network members and Music & Youth. We do not receive any financial benefit from the vendors to promote their products. We just thought they were helpful and you might like ’em. 

Best Instruments for At-Home Use:

Music Production Package – $220
Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Recording Bundle
Singer/songwriter Package – $150
Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone Bundle
Acoustic Guitar Package – $170
Yamaha JR1 (w/bag)($150/ea, Tuner – $10/ea, Picks – $3.50/pack, Strap $6/ea) 
Ukulele Package – $60 
Kala Ukulele Starter Kit
Drummer Package – $160
Pyle PTED06 Electronic Drum pad
or…
Drum pad/sticks Kit – $25 
Evans RealFeel Drum Pad and Drumsticks
Digital Piano Package – $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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