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Some play along video advice…

I have been making ukulele play along videos for a few months now, and while I won’t claim to be perfect, I’m pleased with how the videos have changed and developed over time.

I have some advice about those videos, so I’ll share them…

If you are going to use them in a class, download them ahead of time and embed them in a presentation. If you have an iOS device, send me an e-mail and I will let you know of a great solution for iOS devices. Otherwise, is your friend–but be careful which button you press. Keepvid has a number of buttons that look like download links, but really aren’t.

Also…get to know the video listings on this blog…they are free, and you can use them to plan a play along event or to organize a curriculum on your own terms (I will offer a curriculum plan later through my Patreon account as a reward).

Oh…and don’t forget that the desktop version of YouTube can slow down or speed up videos while maintaining pitch. There are some mobile solutions as well (I put some suggestions in every video these days).

If you are going to make your own videos…

  • YouTube allows you to attach a custom thumbnail. This is surprisingly important as the thumbnail also shows on a downloaded video! My iPad software (LumaFusion) allows me to make a screenshot, which I take of the title slide, and it is very easy to attach to my YouTube files. You can always go back and add these to an old video.
  • I have decided that it is best to let a play along video be a play along video. If your video needs instruction, make a separate video, and add the link to the instructions on the play along video itself. I want kids to be playing within 10 seconds of starting a song. That doesn’t mean that instructions aren’t good or useful…but you may not need to see them every time. Also, if you download a video and embed it in a Keynote on an iPad, you cannot fast forward the video in presentation mode!
  • Right now, the title lasts for 4 seconds, on a relevant picture for two seconds, and on the chords for 4 seconds. I figure that if people need more time with the chords, they can pause the video.
  • I have decided that the “highlight square” is the best method to use for play along videos, although I have no problems also adding an icon or image. I like to add the images as a related symbol and sometimes as a sense of humor in the video.
  • I am trying to use the KIDS Color String chord fonts when possible, and I am going to start using Color Chord “highlight squares” on songs that only have C, F, G, and Am.
  • I often find videos to make play alongs by accident, but I do ask my students for suggestions (I have a running Google Form) and I also look at the most popular searches on

Those are my current thoughts…I will add more thoughts at another time if I have any other realizations about play along videos.

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