Teacher’s Notes – Music Production Unit, Year 8.

Practical Lessons
Practical work often seems daunting but it is just a case of being well prepared. The ideal way for teachers to learn how to use the equipment is for you to try it out yourself! Although it seems as though you do not have very much time for these activities, this has been designed to encourage students to make quick decisions and not allow for time to ‘muck around’. Try to enforce these timings and get the students to stick to them. Well behaved students could always film and edit in their own time if they (and you) wish! Ensure that you have booked the media editing suite and cameras in plenty of time If you let Jemma know in advance when you will be filming/ editing, I may be able to get extra help for you – otherwise make good use of teaching assistants/ PGCE students and let our technician when you will be filming/ editing. Try to keep the groupings at 3-4, and it is advisable to keep the badly behaved students together so you can follow them whilst filming etc… Ensure that you check thoroughly student’s plans for filming and discourage them from any excessive action shots! Give strict boundaries about where they can film in the building and who they can use. Try to ensure that they stick to filming in edit order, to make the editing process simpler. (However, more able students or IT wizards should be encouraged to split clips and repeat them.) You will need time between the filming and editing process for you to upload the groups filming (ensure that the files are clearly labelled with a group name and do a back-up copy. Please remove these files once the unit is finished.) and the music they have used. Remember you will also need time to download their videos onto CD/DVD for viewing before the Oscars! When choosing music for them to use, focus on giving them music with a strong beat to encourage synchronised editing. More able students could cope with more abstract rhythms and lyrics, but stick to story focused lyrics for the less able. You can if you want to, allow students to pick their own music but do not allow them to have extracts of longer than 2 minutes. It is a good idea to try to copy the extract of music you want to use onto a CD to save rewinded/forwarding. Examples of good music to use could be: Gorillaz (Happy), The Streets/ Beastie Boys tracks, Beyonce (Crazy in Love). Mind’s Eye: Get students to close their eyes and imagine what they see happening when listening to music. Encourage the more able to steer clear from just visually showing what the singer says. Try to get groups to link their ideas together and not just to accept one person’s idea.

CD Cover Analysis – The Cardigans (Gran Turismo) This exercise could be done with any CD cover and you may have some others that are more appropriate.
• • • Title of album – leading up to a climax (links to them ascending to heaven.) Connotations of band name – English, boring?!, comforting – not expecting rock tunes but something more soothing. Look at the relation between some of the song titles/ lyrics to the image such as ‘starter’: I’m leaving everyone behind, new beginning. Anchors image of travelling, a new start in life/ in death, of ascending to heaven. Relate to the small detail (small details used to create a following of people who think they

• • •

have found out something secret about the band, this then strengthens the relationship as they think they “know them”. This is similar to the function of secret tracks at the end of the album, provokes discussion between fans.) on front page “Come take us out of here, take us anywhere…..” Or Higher “there’s so much more than this, take us higher” Band of adventure, increasing trend of melancholy music that is dissatisfied with life (could relate to post-modernism but wouldn’t advise it!!) People can relate to this. Lead into discussion of target audience. Image – heavenly (connotations of gold/yellow – luxurious, light, heaven) band (relates to music) superiority of them. Band wanting to travel and looking for adventure. Main focus of lighting is on lead singer, but still maintaining mystery with use of shadows (relates to one of the pictures inside the cover where all are shadows.) Again singer is shown over the lake photograph on inside cover – gives her a heavenly, angelic and ghostly quality. Glossy cover to emphasise colour and beauty of photographs. Focus on the wonder of nature (relate to the strong colours that have been emphasised in editing process to increase the ‘beauty’.) Also a focus on the sky and spiritual process and emphasised by them in shadows. Light shafts have been captured by the camera.

Lesson on Analysing Music Videos Purpose of music videos (can be more than one of these at a time):
1. Give meanings to lyrics and story follows the lyrics. 2. Follows conventional narrative structure (beginning, middle, end) mini saga. 3. Abstract – doesn’t feature artist, image has no bearing on the song. (Consider why an artist might want to do this.) 4. Promote a particular image of an artist. 5. To show off a new technological advancement. Clips from ‘Spike Jonze’ DVD that show these off…. 1. = If I only had a brain. It’s oh so quiet. 2. = Sabotage Da Funk (also 3) 3. = Wax – California Praise You Weapon of Choice 4. = Sure Shot Pharcyde 5. = The Chemical Brothers (Juxtaposed dancing to music – slow motion to increase splendour of moves.) Weapon of Choice (discuss how editing emphasises rythmn.)

Conventions of music videos………
When viewing the videos, you should also introduce some of the conventions of music videos. For example, show synchronised editing (on-beat editing) to emphasise and beat and therefore make it memorable. Show this with Weapon of Choice. Action on beat can be shown with Its oh so quiet (kicking tyre etc…)

Introduce intertextuality (when different media styles are used) with Sabotage (detective style series – Cagney and Lacey etc..) Buddy Holly (Happy Days) Praise You (Home videos) It’s oh so quiet (musicals.) It might be helpful to have example of the above to compare. Show shortened shot length (discuss reason) with Sabotage.

Notes on analysing ‘Sky is the Limit’ Notorious B.I.G
Discuss the way that the children change things (makes it appeal more to teenagers – it’s a children’s world, makes it more poignant now Biggie is dead, relates to title, increases comedy, makes representations more sinister – girls in make up and swimming costumes.) Use of fans and slow motion to make them appear more adoring, big up his image, high angle to make it appear if there is more of them.) Use of synchronised fade editing to make it seem like a film – with widescreen effect (gives it higher status) and to introduce us to different characters/ action sequences. Intertextuality of a film trailer and ‘Bugsy Malone’. Use of colour gold to connote luxury and also locations such as Jacuzzi etc… (high angle shots on these make these locations appear vast.) Use of CCTV cameras – wealth but also we are getting secret insight into their lifestyle. Close Ups of main characters – camera loves them, they are most important. Also use of low angle shots to make them appear more powerful. Lots of mirrors – they want to be seen, glamorous image to maintain. Camera in sky and gliding shots to show overview of their lifestyle (also relates to song title.) Slow motion of girls dancing – to focus on their bodies and looks. Sound muffled on girls conversations to add realism (we are really backstage with them) extra sound in addition to airplay encourages people to buy CD. Discuss negative representations of women in many RnB, Hip Hop videos but also the more positive representations of black people in this video compared to those that focus on gangsta rap. (Consider history of B.I.G and use of word ‘notorious’.) Define mainstream and target audience in relation to these genres.

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