Watching music videos usually provokes many student responses, but the most appealing is the level of engagement. Most students are more than willing to verbally express their opinions, yet moving from subjective discussion to writing analytical extended responses requires commitment. Read more on the Reflective Writing page.
Scroll down to read about different music videos that have proven effective in engaging high school students.
Download my Textual Analysis Table then view the text to take your own notes. Alternatively, your could use my Film Analysis Table. Remember to take notes on all three elements of a multimodal text: music, lyrics and film techniques.
Using the Metalanguage
When analysing music videos it is important to discuss the features of all three modes: music, lyrics and film. Many students learn the poetic features most useful in analysing lyrics, and film techniques are also taught through each year of English. However, unless a student is also studying music, they are likely to be unfamiliar with appropriate terms and concepts. The following tables and concept maps introduce key ideas that can be applied to a discussion of musical elements in a music video. This information was supplied by Karen Burke, my supportive sister-in-law, a very experienced Head Teacher and now Deputy Principal. Speak with the music teachers at your school – who knows? there could be some cross curriculum opportunity for creating, composing or assessing.
It could be helpful to focus on obvious musical moments, such as the opening – which instruments are heard first? how does this support the introductory lyric? – the chorus – describe the music: how does this reinforce the main idea of the chorus? – and the closing – does the music end abruptly? or fade? what is the audience encouraged to feel?
As a teacher, consider discussing the effect of music on human emotions in general terms. For example, string instruments often evoke feelings of sympathy or empathy, whereas drum beats denote energy.
These slides are from previous presentations with specific vocabulary terms that match to the relevant concept on the map. The table below offers another way of presenting a word bank to students to help describe and justify the musical choices made in a text.