Fifth Grade Music Video Project

TOOLS: 

Stop-Motion Animation- KomaKoma,  iPad or iPhone, iPad stand (can be a fancy one or an improvised stack of books taped to a chair!), video editing software (iMovie or Final Cut), simple manipulative materials for animation (articulating puppets, blocks, 2D collage materials, or sculpey clay)

or

Pixel Style GIF Animation- Piskel.app, video editing software (iMovie or Final Cut), Google Drive (to allow for ease in sharing files between students), student computer workstations (laptops, desktop PCs, or Chrome Books)

MA Arts Curriculum Framework (Music & Drama):

STANDARD 6 Purposes and Meanings in the Arts Students will describe the purposes for which works of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and architecture were and are created, and, when appropriate, interpret their meanings.

STANDARD 9 Inventions, Technologies, and the Arts Students will describe and analyze how performing and visual artists use and have used materials, inventions, and technologies in their work.

STANDARD 10 Interdisciplinary Connections Students will apply their knowledge of the arts to the study of English language arts, foreign languages, health, history and social science, mathematics, and science and technology/engineering.

Guided Concepts & Benchmarks for Students:

  • The music video provided an entirely new method of storytelling in music. Overview interesting selections of music videos with students, discussing different artistic styles used to help convey the message or story of the music. Here are some interesting examples:
    •  "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles (the first music video!)
    • "Let the Beat Build" by Nyle (I stop this video at 2:15, there is a bit of light language, but I really like this example because it is genuinely positive in message, relatable to students, low budget, and continuously shot)
    • "Mirror Kissers" by The Cribs (made with distorted/collaged xerox copies on paper)
    • "Odd Socks" by Grand Pocket Orchestra (paper constructed 3D animation)
    • "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel (Interesting use of 3D stop-motion with mixed media; this video has some adult themes, you may want to only show an excerpt to younger kids)
    • "Strawberry Swing" by Coldplay (time-lapse drawing)
    • "The One Moment" by OK Go (continuous shot; you *should* be honest with your students about the use of digital editing/SFX in many of these videos, but have them discern what looks real versus computer edited.)
  • Ask students important questions: "Does the video footage support or contrast the lyrics?", "What is the message of the lyrics alone, in your own words?" and "What is the message of the video alone, in your own words?", "Does the piece have the same meaning without either video or audio?", and "How is the music video different from a live performance setting?"
  • If you wish, this is a great opportunity to discuss censorship. "What is censorship?", and "Should music/music videos be censored for public consumption?". These questions will most likely lead down a rabbit hole for discussion, but they are important ones to ask. Trust your students to lead this conversation, and follow their lead, posing questions by playing the devil's advocate. I typically define censorship with my kids as, "changing the nature of a message to suit the needs of a wider audience." Keep in mind that censorship occurs sometimes when there is no profanity, violence or promiscuity present. Often, widely held social values are what dictate censorship, and this varies from one public setting to another. (Older students may enjoy learning about an overview of Frank Zappa's court testimony in the PMRC hearings of the 90s)
  • Make a video! We have had great success using both stop-motion animation and more recently, pixel style animation. Have fun with this project! 

Steps:

1) Break students into small groups based upon animation style. You can have an assortment of styles, or focus on one homogenous approach for your video. 

2) Decide upon a collective storyline. Have your students lead a storyboard process at the front of the classroom- Do they want to create a symbolic storyline, or a more concrete narrative?  

3) Each group focuses on one part of the video's storyline. Have them construct and assemble their "stages", focusing on contrast in color & texture when choosing materials, planning for evenly well lit surfaces (whether it's 2D or 3D, you want to try to avoid shadows in your work). 

4) Stop-Motion animations: 12 frames roughly equals 1 second of footage, therefore many frames will need to be taken to achieve a longer scene. Remind students to keep their hands clear of the shot before capturing each frame, and to avoid blocking the light sources (bodies cast shadows too!)

    Pixel Style animations: Same rule applies here, 12 frames/sec, but this footage can be easily manipulated in video editing software, in order to speed up or slow down. Basic drawing and canvas techniques definitely apply here (figure drawing basics, contrast & color theory). Have students work in layers, composing their pixel animations one element at a time. This can be tricky, but gets easier with practice! :)

5) Load all captured footage into the video editing application of your choice, and go to town on adding special effects! Have fun!

Student Work Examples:

A stop-motion animated music video (using KomaKoma on iPads) of Imogen Heap's song "Earth" from her album Ellipse, 2009.
An animated music video for the B-52s song, There's a Moon in the Sky (It's Called the Moon) from their album B-52s, 1979. This animation was created entirely by the fifth grade students of Kingsley Montessori School in Boston, MA. Thanks to the B-52s for sharing your wonderful music, we hope you enjoy our video tribute!
A Rock N' Roll Tribute medley including: "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones, "I Love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes. Kingsley Montessori School Fifth Grade students created this video using pixel animated GIFs (www.piskelapp.com).
Daft Punk's "Robot Rock" from their 2005 album, "Human After All." Hip Hop choreography by Kingsley Montessori School fifth grade students. We used EL wire, glow sticks, and LED lights to create our effects!