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Virtual Video Performances

Help your students see how they can perform through video on websites like YouTube and apps like TikTok, Acapella, and karaoke platforms. I have been researching YouTube artists for over a decade and on this page you'll find easy to replicate examples, links to my research studies, and tips and tricks to creating your own virtual performances.  

Every project here can be applied to any type classroom. The projects are not prescriptions. They are just suggestions. You can do these things in school ensembles, religious youth groups, community events, after-school programs, with your families, and even apply them professionally. Be creative. Be willing to try new things. Download an app and make some music!

​​Video Inspires Music Learning

When I was in school, I loved choir. Watch this brief documentary I created about how virtual choirs and other video performances have shaped the way people use YouTube to create. While it was created in 2014, it's still relevant today.

A Documentary of Virtual Choirs

Virtual ensembles are so popular among YouTube artists. We've seen them on Ellen Degeneres's show. The Pentatonix won a Grammy for music they published on YouTube. I have been highly inspired by the YouTube artists I love. Just take a look at my research publications to see how in depth I've gone into understanding what they do (list at the bottom of this page).

How do I get started? (Deciding what to do)

My first suggestion comes from the Nike motto. Just do it! The what is the first hurdle. Do you want to do a solo performance? Do you just want to get yourself out there? Do you want to collaborate with others? Do you want to create a huge virtual ensemble? My second suggestion is remember that you're new to this! When you give a guitarist their first instrument, you do not expect them to play like Jimmie Hendrix. If this is your (or your students') first time at creating a video performance, it won't look like the Pentatonix or Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir. Dream a little, and then, choose some music you want to perform. Finally, consider how you can move forward. Luckily this website will give you a little guidance.

What if I can't think of anything to do? (Examples of easy DIY video projects)

Pick an app or two and watch some virtual performances. Most of us have seen tons of YouTube videos that we would love to recreate. However, your favorite YouTube star probably has evolved over years of making videos and bought a lot of expensive equipment. There are a lot of apps that have social media tools that can help you see how others are using the platform. I'm give you some fun musical tasks that can keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even whole careers, some apps on which you can accomplish those tasks, and if I have them available, some student examples, reflection questions, and project expectations.

Perform your favorite Pop song with Karaoke

There is no shortage of apps that help users do karaoke. Here is a list of them in no particular order:

If you don't want to use an app, simply find a karaoke track on YouTube/Spotify or purchase one from your favorite store and just record yourself with a webcam or handheld device. However, I've noticed that my students like playing around with the special features, especially pitch correction (what they call autotune) and pretty color filters.

A project that requires students to perform karaoke is a pretty straight forward. Teachers can also adapt a project by choosing the parameters, grading criteria, and platforms. For example, you can grade on stage presence, facial expressions, tone quality, use of props, ability to teach a new song to others, and even give extra credit toanyone who gets over 10 (or even 1,000) likes/thumbs up/comments.


You don't have to have students publish online (and if you're working with minors, I suggest you don't). You can have students save to their camera roll (Apple) or gallery (Android) and send it to you or have them publish it privately so they are given a link that they can send to you (and maybe their families and friends).

Remember, karaoke isn't just for instrumentalists. Music plus 1 was a huge influence that encouraged music making in the homes of millions during the LP era. But now, all you need is a background track. You can challenge students to find sheet music online for their chosen song, create a transcription, or even improvise.

Singing with your favorite pop star

One of my favorite YouTube videos of all time was of pop star Austin Mahone, who used the Sing! app now called Smule to sing with fans all over the world.

Smule has since encouraged other artists to offer songs on their platform including Anne Maria, Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Mendez, and Nick Jonas. The apps now allow people to perform side by side, allowing for collaboration that can allow users to perform with a clone of themself, a friend from class, or a musical-pen-pal from across the world. The possibilities are endless for planned and spontaneous collaboration.

Create a Multitrack - Clone-Ensembles

If you would like resources, click any of the links below to download pdf files and word documents I used for my students.

6 Weeks - 5 Students Per group - Discuss any musical topics - Each student chooses 1 day a week

Music Appreciation Course

Project Instructions:  .docx    .pdf

Preparation Sheet:    .docx    .pdf

Reflection Sheet:      .docx    .pdf

5 Weeks - 5 Students Per group - Prompted Questions - Students sign up for different days each week

Music for Elementary Education Majors Course

Downloads Coming by March 23

Other ideas:

  • Try this in an ensemble that can't meet face to face and encourage students to challenge each other.

    • Play a Disney song by ear

    • Sing your favorite part from one of our choir songs and tell us why it is so meaningful to you

    • Play the hardest passage from our repertoire at 1/2 the speed of a performance

    • Play a ballad as if it were a mariachi number

    • Download the acapella app and sing or play two or more harmonies of your favorite children's song

  • Instead of having students write in a discussion board, have everyone post a video. Then, have them write or video respond to a certain number of original videos.

What are some ways you could impliment CVLs in your classroom?

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