Cross-posted at ISTE’s Learning and Leading with Technology – Issue forthcoming
Using music in projects is an important skill for students to develop. Music and sound effects can make or break a presentation, and can take a good project to a whole new level. Sir Alan Parker, director of the films Birdy, Evita, Fame, Pink Floyd the Wall, and many others) states:
“When music and images gel they can take the audience’s brains to another plane emotionally and dramatically. Bad film music intrudes without complementing the action. A great score gets under your skin, triggers your subconscious, enhances the drama and helps drive the emotional power train of the movie.”
For students to use music in their projects, they need to be able to find royalty-free music. If they simply import a song from their iTunes library, chances are, it is not permissible to use under Creative Commons licensing. If students post videos on YouTube or Vimeo which contain copyrighted songs, the audio will likely be stripped and their accounts may be suspended.
There are hundreds of sites that offer music to download, but the majority of these sites are pay-based, and/or not very user-friendly. Below are 3 great, easy to use sites for students to find free, royalty-free music and sound effects to use in their projects.
Purple Planet Royalty Free Music is a nice source for fun, easy to use, royalty-free music for projects. All the music on the site is free to download and is composed and performed by Geoff Harvey and Chris Martyn. A link back to the site is all that is required to use any of the many songs within the site. Three things I really like about this site are: 1. There is a nice mouse-over audio preview feature that allows kids to get an idea of what the song sounds like. 2. The site is organized in 14 different geners for easy searching. 3. It is completely free!
SoundJay has a nice selection of .mp3 and .wav files that are organized into 10 different genres. All of the sounds and songs at SoundJay are free to use under the condition that the user links back to and cites http://www.soundjay.com and does not post the sounds for others to download.
All the free downloadable mp3s at Royalty Free Music Room are public domain music. Students are free to use the music for any project (book trailers, movies, presentations, etc.) and even upload to Youtube, without worrying about copyright infringement.
As educators, one very important role, succinctly stated in the NETS-T is to: “Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.” Music is such an under-stated importance in student projects and it is vital that children know how to find and use royalty-free audio.