Browsing Tag music

I Like the Sound of That! Using Music Legally in Classroom Videos

One of my EDUC 514 (Video in the Classroom) alumni just sent me an email about adding a soundtrack to a video for his classroom. The question is perfectly worded: How do I insert (good) music without the legal entanglements?
First, a quick primer on fair use.

Speak-into-the-microphoneThe Center for Social Media focuses on fast-changing environment for public media. The following is paraphrased from their page Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video: Fair use is flexible; it is not uncertain or unreliable. In fact, for any particular field of critical or creative activity, lawyers and judges consider expectations and practice in assessing what is “fair” within the field. Ask yourself,

“Did the unlicensed use “transform” the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?”

If you can answer “yes”, then you may use video in your classroom. This article discusses the implications of fair use of video in the classroom. Here are the cliff notes:

  1. You need permission to use music that you didn’t write.
  2. You can’t use music from your iTunes library. You have the power to do so, but not the permission.
  3. Lots of people don’t care about the legal side of using music in school projects. You do.
  4. There are amazing sites that offer free music. They’re creative commons, so give credit when you use the tunes.

Here are my three favorite places to go to find music that rocks and music that I’m allowed to use:


Jamendo is a platform for independent artists to share their work. Anyone in education can use songs on this website as long as credit is given. I think of Past Bill (a younger version of myself, probably about 20 years old), and imagine that he would be insanely stoked that a website like this exists where moviemakers and students can use songs that Past Bill wrote.

Moby Gratis

Moby (yes, the Moby) created Moby Gratis created this project for “anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.” How cool is that!? The answer: very.


Kevin MacLeod created Incompetech Music because “there are a lot of schools with no money, and plenty of film makers who want to have music – but can’t afford to clear copyrights from the existing systems that are set up. I believe that copyright is badly broken, so I chose a license that allows me to to give away the rights I wish to surrender.” The answer to nearly every FAQ on his site: Anyone can use any of my music in any project.


Write your own music. Use GarageBand. It’s amazing. Here’s a tutorial:

So, get out there. Shoot some video. Add some amazing, licensed music. Change the world. Rinse. Repeat.

School of Rock: GarageBand and Classroom Songwriting

Compose epic music with your students in GarageBand. Ignore plastic recorders and wood blocks, and add engaging loops of real instruments.

Write songs with students in GarageBand. Integrate music into the common core with songwriting, music theory, and creativity. In this workshop, participants will compose music for a variety of cross-curricular purposes: video soundtracks, song parodies, song form, algebra (patterning), and original compositions.

  • Develop a basic understanding of the GarageBand interface on iPad and Mac.
  • Create & edit recording.
  • Compose a song parody based on common core standards.
  • Create an original musical composition utilizing GarageBand’s loops.
  • Integrate music into various subject areas.

1. Introduction to GarageBand on Mac

  • Loops
  • Magic GarageBand
  • Recording
  • Tempo, Key, Time Signature

2. Introduction to GarageBand on iPad

  • Smart Instruments
  • Sampling

3. Add pre-recorded loops: hands-on

  • Loop categories
  • Repeat and automate loops

4. Record audio: hands-on

  • builit-in microphone
  • external microphones

5. Write a song parody based on common core standard

  • examples for language arts
  • examples for math

6. Cross-curricular ideas

  • songs to study to
  • instructional songs (written by students, for students)
  • song composition
  • song form and algebra

7. Video soundtrack

  • sync audio with video track
  • edit video
  • auto-tune and quantize
  • matching tone of music with visuals