Channel offers range of tutorials across a variety of instruments; view the entire series at bit.ly/MSUMusic
MURRAY, Ky. — With many school districts across the country beginning the academic year online, band directors in particular have to be creative in teaching students how to play musical instruments. A group of Murray State University Department of Music faculty members have launched a YouTube channel designed to help students get started.
When students begin playing an instrument for the first time, they are assisted by a music teacher who walks them through assembling the instrument, holding it correctly and making their first sounds. Students cannot receive the same one-on-one practice as they do in person while distance learning.
With that challenge in mind, Christian County High School Band Director and Department of Music alumnus Anthony Darnall, ’12, asked University trumpet professor Dr. Eric Swisher about the possibility of creating videos to aid budding musicians. Additional faculty compiled a series of short videos on their own instruments, walking students through the steps they needed to get started.
Assistant professor of music Dr. Amy McCann edited each tutorial, adding title cards and transition effects to create a professional look. She said the channel offers students a solid start with new instruments as they adjust to distance learning while alleviating stress for band directors navigating a challenging instructional environment.
“Each video contains detailed instructions and tips from an instructor who has specialized with that particular instrument for years,” McCann said. “The playlists are organized in the best progression of skills, from the first time a student opens the instrument case to actually beginning to make music with the instrument. By breaking the information into separate sessions, students can go back and rewatch an individual video focusing on one skill they may need to spend more time studying.”
The videos went live on the Murray State Recording Services YouTube channel Aug. 20. As of Sept. 10, 2020, the channel has more than 560 subscribers and nearly 14,000 views. You can view each tutorial series at bit.ly/MSUMusic.
McCann said the music department has received messages from band directors across the country thanking them for launching the instructional series.
“The Murray State Department of Music faculty have always been a valuable resource to music educators in our region,” Department of Music Chair and professor of music Lucia Unrau said. “This is just a wonderful example of their commitment to assisting students and teachers beyond our region, as many band directors will be using this series of instructional videos to help get their middle school beginning band students off to a great start.”