YouTube in Music Education by Thomas Rudolph and James Frankel (Hal Leonard, 200 pages, $17.99) teaches music educators how to engage with students by using online videos. Although the book claims to be designed for YouTube beginners and experts alike, I was concerned that it would be pedantic – i.e. press the “on” button on your computer, click on the web browser icon, type in the web address, click on the video, etc. Thankfully, the book lives up to its claim and may serve as a valuable tool for any music educator who wishes to use YouTube as part of his curriculum. The book is clearly written and easy to understand. Novices will benefit from a comprehensive study of the book, while experienced users will find many handy tips to hone their YouTube skills.
For YouTube newbies, the book gives a non-condescending description of how to set up an account. After this, the authors describe the finer points of how to set up appropriate privacy settings for student and classroom use. Next, there is a discussion of copyright laws and how to determine if a video is legal to show to students or post on YouTube. Finally, the authors share teaching strategies gathered from different educators about how integrate videos into the classroom. Of particular interest to me was a list of classical, folk, world, and jazz music websites which have videos that teachers can legally use as examples for their students. I was fascinated to discover that there are only a few videos of Pavarotti on YouTube which have been posted with permission.
The book offers workarounds for educators who work in institutions which may not allow YouTube access. Suggestions are given on how educators may speak with administrators to request a way to get around the firewall in order to use YouTube in classrooms. For institutions which completely prohibit YouTube, websites called TeacherTube.com and Schooltube.com are two other options.
Another informative aspect of the book is its detailed description of equipment which can be used in the classroom to play YouTube videos. The book also gives a detailed description of the budget and equipment needed for producing videos on YouTube.
As a Suzuki violin teacher, even though I teach out of a community music school rather than a traditional public or private institution, I found the information gleaned from this book to be useful. I think the book would be most beneficial to teachers in traditional schools. I would highly recommend this book to music educators whether they are looking to learn about YouTube for the first time or increase their current knowledge.