How to Create a YouTube Playlist for Class

  So I’ve been thinking of new things to incoorporate into this blog every once in a while and after recieving technical questions after my NHMEA workshop I decided I would do a little mini series on short and helpful tech tips to do all the things I describe about in this blog. (I was also inspired by the Quavermusic Blog’s monday tip series, Thanks Abby!) So over the next few weeks I will be posting helpful and technical tips on how to make technology easy and work for you so you can use it without hesitation in your classroom.

    As I’ve learned over the past few years, YouTube videos have become more and more useful when showing them in class. They are great visuals for students to actually see what you are talking about and are easy ways to get music performers into your classroom without the big bucks and all the time. What some teachers get frusterated with is the fact that they start to accrue more and more videos to show and to search through all of them for the right one becomes a big mess and wastes time especially if you are in the middle of class, that’s when the playlists come in. I have several that go with different lessons so they are easy to find and can play one right after the other. If you are interested in checking out the playlists I have created click the following to my YouTube Channel:

 To Make A Playlist:

  To make a new playlist can be quite easy once you get going. First, make sure you have created a YouTube profile and find a video you would really like to save for later. I’ve used the Just Dance Surfin’ Bird video because..well..the bird REALLY IS the word. Once you get to a video you would like to save, underneath the video there are some options. Click the words Add To


   After you have hit add to, in the middle of the window just below the video there is now a list of playlists you have. Find the box under the list where you can type in a new playlist name. It should be right below it.


   Once you have found the box, type in a new name for your new playlist and decide whether you would like it a public or private list. After you have made your decisions click Create Playlist.


   There! You have created a playlist! Once you find another video repeat the first step and instead of creating a new playlist just select the playlist you would like in the list and it will be added. To visit your playlists or to edit them click on your profile on the upper right of the screen and a list of your playlists will come up. You can click on them there to play them but if you want to edit, click on the video manager link that is close to your profile information.


 Once in the video manager, to get you editing your playlists you need to click the Playlists link on the left hand navagation bar and that will bring you to the screen where you can delete, change descriptions or the title, or even adjust start times for each list you have.


   Now you are probably to the point where you have an AMAZING playlist, ready to share it? Go back and click on your profile on the upper right corner to get your lists and click on the one you would like to share. Now instead of hitting Add to again, hit Share which is right next to it and that will provide you with the link to send to others or the option to share it to the social media site of your choice.


That should be it! A simple way to create a YouTube playlist. I will be back next week with another walk through of another tool. Have a request or a question? Leave me a comment or like this blog’s new Facebook fanpage and leave me a comment there!

NHMEA Octoberfest: First Presentation of the Season

   This week has been nuts! Not only was it a short week, I also had a grade level show in the evening on Wednesday and then flipped  right around and headed to present at SNHU for NHMEA’s Octoberfest conference on Thursday and then came back to school today to teach. Next week I have two more events I’ll be attending or directing and then the week after I have a virtual call with a college class setup..whew! Is October over yet?  What I wanted to blog about this week was my experience presenting yesterday at Octoberfest, it was my first time presenting this season and first time presenting to my in-state collegues!

    Octoberfest itself is a full workshop day. We started out listening to NAfME’s wonderful President Nancy Ditmer give the keynote speech and then followed it with 2 interest sessions, lunch (I got to sit and talk with with Nancy and our NHMEA President Sandi Howard!), and then another 2 interest sessions before the all-member meeting which closed out our day. Other than presenting I attended Ms. Ditmer’s session on teacher health and avoiding burnout which was fantastic, I loved the small circle and how it was a discussion with her. I also rocked out in a world drumming session with Phil Martin and picked up some pointers for when I drum with my kiddos, and then ended with Eric Kobb talking about how he formed his iBand! I got some great tips and tools to use with my own group.


     I was very excited to present my session and extremely nervous. It was the very first time I would be presenting to my collegues and friends in state. I have done MMEA, I’ve done TMEA, I’ve done Christa Maculiffe, but never NHMEA. My session focused on why you should be integrating tech into your elementary music classroom, some great ways how, and a plethora of resources you can use. Including a big chunk of QuaverMusic which I was lucky to have been sent brochures for the program that went out with my handouts. It has probably been one of my best put together sessions I have done yet. I did run short on time but that was because of how invested my 35-40 participants were in the session. I had a lot of great questions and went longer because of the discussions we were having. I don’t think I have had a room yet that was so animated with laughter, oohs, ahhs, and smiles. It made me get silly and have more fun myself. Things that Iwas planning to really just skim over they wanted to see even more of (I will admit I Sid Shuffled a little I got to talk about my favorite resources I use, why I integrate and how to do it in a way that is beneficial for students, and boast about some of my sucesses with technology  in my classroom. After I ended it was a great feeling to have so many people come up to say hi and talk. I was excited to hear so many of them say they will be in contact with me soon for help and even one person asked to come observe!. Hearing things like that is exciting. I love music and I love technology and helping music teachers like myself learn how to use it is my passion.

       I have found I love presenting and teaching music teachers how to use technology in a meaningful way, being told I am “inspiring” is such a cool feeling. I am in year two in the presenting world and really could do this all of the time if I was given the chance to. Getting up and speaking about what I know from the heart is not only an adrenaline rush but also makes me feel good and feel like I am helping others. I of course love my students and love to teach them, but teaching teachers is a whole different experience, one that I’ve found I love to do. I’m hoping my presenting schedule turns out like last year. I only signed up for two conferences in the beginning but got asked to do some and ended up with at least 5 different conferences. Right now though, I have to anxiously await for TMEA/TI:ME in February!

Would you like my session materials from NHMEA Octoberfest? Visit my websites conference page by clicking here 



Of course my new presenter outfit was pretty fun to wear too 😉

A Reflection on a Skype Connected Music Classroom

Have you ever sat back and just enjoyed your hard work? Have you ever realized pushing yourself just a little bit more than what you want will bring even more joy? This week I reflected on a project that has been hard work for me this year, but now that I’ve had time to sit and enjoy it I’ve realized I’m changing the norm for music class in my district.

So far this year my class has connected with 3 classes from different parts of the world. My 4th grade has connected with England to sing a song for World Peace One Day, and 2 of my 2nd grade classes have connected with a class in New Jersey, and another class in Canada to sing songs in their upcoming show. Each connection even better than the last. To connect other parts of the world with my classroom all I need is:

  • A Computer with Skype
  • A Microphone
  • A Webcam

Thats all I need to have a lesson that can make the toughest class have the best day because they are so excited to see students in a different part of the world. To anyone it is exciting, they get to experience new and the old becomes interesting again. After one Skype call today I had a student shout out “Can we play that game they just did???” The smiles seem to last for days and the talk about it won’t end.

Venturing out into fairly new territory always comes with its challenges, in only 3 calls into this year I’ve learned ways to make my calls better:

  • Always do a test call before the actual call date, you never know if something will not work with a certain connection.
  • Make sure you write down in a calendar when you are Skyping so you don’t accidentally plan one for the same time OR plan on on a day you are headed to present at a conference!
  • When trouble arises, have extra silent work for those students who can’t be on camera to do away from the group.
  • Always invite an entire grade level to a Skype call, you never know if they will be up for joining in!
  • Make sure you share with your administration about your calls, its not every day this happens!
  • Converse with the other teacher about how you want to go about the call, there are different ways you can do it such as : A song share (Where each class sings a song for each other and asks questions), a performance (if you have a class preparing for a show, getting a different audience can be just the thing to get them to practice!), a mystery Skype (Each class tries to guess where the other class is, you could relate it to musical styles or where composers lived).
  • Prep the students before hand! They do not know how to act during a call if they have never done one before. They need to know what is going on and be prepared for anything to happen. I prepare my kids as soon as I get a call solidified.
  • Make sure you send thanks in return! Keep built bridges standing incase you would like to use them again!


With 3 calls down and at least 3 more to go just this quarter with schools in Illinois, Knoxville Tennessee, and New Jersey again. I have set my sites high to 15 total calls this year with my classes. It’s a blessing I can do so many of these with my kids, and I feel even more connected to my colleagues across the world. Technology is ever changing, 10 years ago we couldn’t do this, but now its a whole different ball game. If we can connect so closely with classes so far away now, how is technology going to enhance that another 10 years from now?


Have you checked out how else I stay a connected educator in this month’s Teaching Music Magazine published out by NAfME? Page 22!!

Starting an iPad Band, at the Elementary Level.

   I feel a little out of sorts this week, I’m off across the northern border this weekend and won’t return until Sunday which resulted in trying to think of an early post! Hope you enjoy thoughts on my new challenge!

       Lately I’ve had some smart students who realize that I have iPads that are free to use at the end of the day, every day. So they started showing up day after day and formed what I posted before “The iPad club”. After my supportive principal found out about this he came to me and said he would like an iPad band to start up. After talking with the kids, they jumped at the chance and we have a promise of a chance to perform at an assembly this year once a few songs are ready!  

I already had the students for the band, they knew my rules about the iPads and knew how to work them. All this was very lucky for me because I have never started an iPad band before, I still only have half a clue what I’m doing and my kiddos know I’m totally winging it which makes practicing together even more fun! We decided to have formal practices every Thursday in which I would get to choose the app and tell them what I would like them to do. Nothing really complex is necessary because they have to leave when their bus is called but just fun enough where they are playing instruments on the iPad and learning how to play as an ensemble.   I think being able to play as an ensemble using technology is a cool way to promote the same things groups like band and chorus do but with a different flare. The students are still focusing on the music, listening, playing and cooperating as a team, and much more just in a new and exciting way for them. Some of these kids are not in band or chorus so being able to do something like this might be their only chance to.

Some of the apps we have used are:



We have had a few practices and are learning how to work together as we go. A few activities we have found that work and are fun:

  • Looping warmups: We use Beat Bots and each pick and choose a loop that will work together as a group. This gets the kids thinking about how each one fits and gets them comfortable changing loops up in the middle of a song.
  • Be the star: Taking either Toca Boca or Garageband we each get a loop going and then go around the circle taking turns doing an 8, 16, or 32 beat solo on either a virtual instrument in Garageband or sliding a character onto the star depending on which program we decided to use.
  • Instrument practice: Using Virtuoso, IamGuitar, or IamDrums we practice simple melodies and rhythms together so each student is reading music and learning an instrument.

The students in this group are so completely pumped about it. They have great incentive to practice as well, we were told we might be possibly able to play at a future assembly and were asked to video our first song so it could go up on the school webpage!

   Have you tried something out of your comfort zone yet this year?