Music in student video productions can be used to create or support mood or tone, to suggest feelings that build and guide our viewing experience. As we help students make school video projects one of our concerns should be to make sure that students are using and crediting media appropriately. Here’s an example of a short documentary video about Mill Springs Grist Mill that uses music by Kevin MacLeod for adding a sad charm to the description of the 1817 mill and its possible closing.
To avoid copyright infringement students should learn to use media in their projects that…
- they make themselves.
- they acquire from others to use with permission (usually a listed credit/attribution).
- they acquire from the web that’s copyright-free or in public domain (never been copyrighted or copyright has expired).
- you buy for them for specific use in student projects (check to see if projects can then be shared online or just in the classroom).
One of the best sources for free-to-use music is incompetech.com, the website of professional composer Kevin MacLeod. Mr. MacLeod offers an extensive collection of creative music in many styles that can be downloaded and used for free in school or home multimedia projects. The only thing he requires is that he be given credit for his work. MacLeod’s site is additionally useful for educators because it has a clear explanation of licensing for crediting his music; Creative Commons licensing has become a popular alternative to standard copyrighting of media as it allows the sharing of one’s work for others’ use while still retaining certain rights and restrictions. To make things easy, MacLeod’s site also includes an online crediting tool that provides text that can be cut-and-pasted into a production’s credit list! Here’s an example from the website…
Another media producer and voice-over talent, Jason McCoy, has published a very useful blog article on How to Find Free Music for Videos. It includes information on best-practices for using media in non-commercial/school projects, along with many online resources for music and audio effects. Jason’s site also has several demo recordings of his voice-over work that are excellent examples of a variety of professionally-made voice projects.
There are other free-to-use-with-credit media sites available for music and sound effects. Search online for “public domain music” or “creative commons music” to find more sites such as the excellent MusOpen website, which also houses music teaching resources.