How to do a video presentation in your class blog

Writing not your thing? No problem. You can do a video production. That doesn’t mean you are absolved of doing your scholarly research. Think of your video production as a mini documentary.

Create a Visual Presentation

  1. You will need to create a blog post to host your video. It should have
    1. a title,
    2. the video embedded in the blog,
    3. your cited research in a cited bibliography at the end.

2. You will be sending your teacher and your classmates to your blog post for review and grading.

3. You need a software application for your video to share your music. I use PowerPoint. You can use Prezi, Haiku Deck, Slide Dog, etc.  Whatever you have available will be just fine.

4. Give your presentation some visual interest by including art, interesting transitions (don’t get too crazy) and video.


Capture and Store Video

  1. You are going to need an application to capture your video and a platform that will save your presentation in a format that will allow you to share it.
  2. I have used Screen Shot, Screencastify, Jing, Kaltura Capture and Camtasia. If you are in a music class and your campus uses Kaltura, I strongly recommend that you use Kaltura. It doesn’t have a time limit, offers a decent desktop video capture, and it is tied to a school’s media storage. Ask your school’s OIT department if they support Kaltura. If you don’t have access to Kaltura, try  Snagit and store it on  Kaltura for University of Alaska Students – log in with your student ID. Download Screen Capture, then go back to Kaltura and upload your video. Call OIT Support or Sean Holland at eLearning for help
  3. Kaltura and will give you the ability to store your video and avoid music copyright violations enforced by YouTube and other video storage platforms.

Good Audio

  1. If you are presenting music that you captured from the internet, you need to first download that music or video to your computer. This can be a rather shaky proposition, but you can do it. I have used in conjunction with After downloading on my computer, I then insert the music into my presentation.
  2. Even a cheap auxiliary microphone is 100% better than your laptop’s microphone. You might even be able to borrow one from the media center at your school’s library.

Write Your Script

  1. If you are a good reader, a script will really elevate your presentation.
  2. If your reading fluency isn’t strong, have an outline.
  3. If I need to do a lot of scripting, I use my speech to text function on my word processing application to create my script. I have to go back and edit, but it is still faster than typing.

Practice and Edit

  1. Practice your video presentation. I suggest recording your practice sessions.
  2. Listen back to what you created with a critical eye and ear.
  3. Limit the length of your production to 10 minutes or less.
  4. If you are familiar with video editing, great! Edit to your heart’s content.
  5. I don’t do any editing. I haven’t taken the time to learn, so I do all my video and audio presentation in one take.


Here’s a link to a video blog example I created for Explorations in Music – LINK




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Calypso – Take a Musical Trip

Here’s an example of what a video blog post would look like. Note that the video is linked in the blog, and that all sources are cited in MLA style AND hyperlinked. Note that the song titles are included in the video, and in the research, with writer credits, place and date. To submit your blog for a grade, submit the URL for your post. This one would look like:


Link to Calypso Presentation


“Harry Belafonte.” Harry Belafonte. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2017. <>. “History – Calypso.” TUCO. Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation, 23 Jan. 2016. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. <>.

Unterberger, Richie. “Roaring Lion | Biography & History.” AllMusic. All Music, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. <>.

Powelson, Bill (60+ Years, Career Drummer-teacher). “Drum Lesson Menu #3: Latin and Carribean – Calypso Song Beat.” Drum Lesson Menu #3: Latin and Carribean – Calypso Song Beat. Home Study Institute of Drum, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. <>.

List of Songs used, and links to performances.

Matilda – Song is traced back to the 1930’s. First recorded by Norman Span (King Radio), Trinidad. Performed by Harry Belafonte, 1988, Zimbabwe.

Soca Pressure – Dr. Slinger Fransisco (Mighty Sparrow) composer and performer, arranged by Art DeCoteau Vanessa, 1992, Trinidad

Pan in A Minor – Aldwyn Roberts (Lord Kitchener), composer and performer, 1986, Trinidad

Doh Rock It So – Timothy Watkins, Jr. (Baron), composer and performer, 1986, Trinidad

In Time to Come – Edwin Ayoung, (Crazy), composer and performer, 2000, Trinidad

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Placement – Where you put it counts!

Below is a reprint of a New York Times review of a book, by James Elkins, May 2008 –  Art and the Power of Placement: Getting the Hang of it, by Victoria Newhouse.  For the purpose of education, I have taken this article and inserted some of the images mentioned for those who don’t have the ability or previous experiences to create a mental image.


“ART AND THE POWER OF PLACEMENT By Victoria Newhouse. Illustrated. 303 pp. The Monacelli Press. $50.

LET’S say I have bought a Mondrian, and all I have to put next to it is a little Expressionist drawing and my uncle’s painting of Nantucket. The Mondrian merits pride of place. But could I dare to hang the others next to the masterpiece? Would the contrast be revealing, or just demeaning?



Victoria Newhouse’s “Art and the Power of Placement” uses a wide range of works, from Egyptian sculpture to contemporary installation art, to focus attention on arrangement and lighting. Especially dramatic in her rich, illustrated, historical survey of the display of art is an account of how the ancient sculpture, “Winged Victory,” first appeared in the Louvre in 1866 — wingless, one among many classical sculptures in a great room — and then how it rose, with its original boat and wings restored, to the top of the impressive Daru Stairway, where it stands today.

Contemporary views of "Winged Victory" at the Louvvre

Contemporary views of “Winged Victory” at the Louvre

The book’s central chapter examines exhibitions of Jackson Pollock, from his first shows in small galleries like Art of This Century in New York in the early 1950’s to the retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Gallery in London in 1998-99. Newhouse, an architectural historian, gives us many floor plans and installation shots that have not been published before. Her argument is that Pollock’s work is best seen in a small, domestic space. His “Mural” (1943) now hangs on a wall “far too big for it” in the museum at the University of Iowa. The high wall and cavernous space make an “egregious example” of what happens when curators try to make Pollock’s work impressive in their view.


Actually, Newhouse says, Pollock preferred intimate settings, like his studio. That is a questionable assertion since Pollock, who died in 1956 at 44, didn’t have the chance to see his work in big museums. It is true that Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Pollock all said they wanted their paintings seen close up, but it doesn’t follow that Pollock’s paintings require intimacy, or that they shrink in big rooms. The many installations Newhouse chronicles show how difficult it is to decide whether Pollock’s work belongs in the easel-painting tradition or the mural tradition. In one Pollock show she takes us through — at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome in 1958 — the curator hung the paintings as though they themselves were walls, free of the gallery walls, and one floated right through an open doorway. There are so many possibilities.

Untitled, 12/11/03, 2:53 PM, 16C, 3450x4776 (600+0), 100%, AIA repro tone, 1/50 s, R58.9, G46.8, B59.3


Which makes me think of my Mondrian again, and what I might surround it with. Newhouse criticizes the Tate Modern for juxtaposing Richard Long’s “Waterfall Line” (2000) and Monet’s “Water Lilies” (after 1916) in an exhibition because the “superficial similarity” of the two landscapes concealed deeper differences. The Tate’s thematic shows suggested only “facile correspondences that often came across as condescending predigestions of demanding material.”

Waterfall Line 2000 Richard Long born 1945 Presented by the artist (Building the Tate Collection) 2005

Waterfall Line 2000 Richard Long born 1945 Presented by the artist (Building the Tate Collection)

Water-Lilies after 1916 Claude Monet 1840-1926 Lent by the National Gallery 1997

Water-Lilies after 1916 Claude Monet 1840-1926

On the other hand, she praises some installations from the past centuries, in which objects were huddled closely in idiosyncratic orders. She likes the permanent display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (dating in part from 1902) because even “dusty and badly lit installations” can be exciting, as if viewers were discovering things for themselves. She also praises a Gwen John watercolor of a cat, hung very low in a corner at a 2003 exhibition at the Drawing Center in New York. The low hang annoyed visitors, but “a sleeping feline would normally be seen from above.”

Newhouse gives a real-life example of a Manhattan apartment with a Mondrian — a private collection in which a Warhol hangs over a beige sofa, with a Picasso on the left and a Mondrian on the right. (The owner has also put a Giacometti sculpture on the coffee table.) So, perhaps I should be inventive with my Mondrian. Anything might work, provided I let the painting speak for itself.

Newhouse is not afraid to say fairly harsh things about some exhibitions. The Musée d’Orsay’s rooms are brightly lighted, and paintings like Manet’s “Olympia” have “to struggle against stone blocks” and distracting rows of holes used to hang the pictures. The light is too harsh.

8223_paris_skip_the_line__musee_dorsay_cb33ee9775743de9a9a624c4661e4da6_originalIndeed, a photograph of the “Olympia” in its old setting in the Jeu de Paume reveals that the wall around it was slightly darker than the painting; a photo of the current hang shows the wall above and below the frame is brighter than the white sheet depicted in the painting.


Musee d”Orsay

Newhouse reserves her toughest criticism for thematic shows and others in which curators use artworks to tell stories. After 1750, she says, museums adopted chronological lattices, “emphasizing history rather than artistic quality.” She dislikes didactic exhibits, and praises arrangements that permit aesthetic, sensual and emotional responses. William Rubin’s installation of Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’Avignon” at the Modern, she says, reduced a great painting to “a lesson in art history.” Its “shock value” was diminished in order to teach a lesson in the history of styles.les-demoiselles-d-avignon

This is where I begin to wonder. Surely history is what confers judgments of quality, and surely quality cannot exist in isolation, as a splendor of yellows and pinks (or a row of “shocking” women). Artworks are given what meaning they have by history. Quality needs context, and context is history. Other than that, paintings have only their beautiful light and color, which is what Newhouse wants. No one likes a lesson, and the new galleries at the Museum of Modern Art are much more open-ended in that respect. But it is not true that Rubin’s sometimes oppressive lessons muted “the paintings themselves,” because there is no such thing as a painting by itself. Painting is what we bring to it, and we bring our histories. Context has never replaced content.

Nor is there any such thing as an exhibit that does not tell a story, even if it only does so by recontextualizing the work. Newhouse objects to the 1998 retrospective of Pollock because the artist’s last works were relegated to a lower status in order to tell an art-historical story about his achievement. She disapproves of such neatness, which betrays the artist’s “frenzied output.” But what exhibitions — other than the strange Francis Bacon studio in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin — don’t tidy up an artist’s oeuvre? By neatening, exhibitions necessarily propose historical stories. When the Pollock exhibition went to the Tate, it told a different story of Pollock’s last years.

As a rule, Newhouse prefers to see art in homes and small galleries. “Hard masonry surfaces provide a less sympathetic background for paintings than fabric-covered or plaster walls,” she writes. She has a decorator’s eye for textures, muted harmonies, beiges and off-whites. The stone walls in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth “pose a problem” for delicate paintings like 18th-century portraits, which are better off with soft wall textures.

Artworks in private residences, she says, can be placed so they can be “best appreciated” rather than having their arrangement dictated “by decorative considerations.” The line-up of the Picasso, Warhol and Mondrian in the private collection wouldn’t occur in a museum, she argues, and it brings out “surprising relationships, such as Picasso’s and Mondrian’s use of similar strong vertical and horizontal black lines.” That is a decorative relationship.

I agree that art in domestic spaces can be compelling; it can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. You live with your art; you only visit the art in museums. But serious fine art in homes also communicates social status and different kinds of taste — topics Newhouse doesn’t mention — and it works hard to produce the kind of decorative effect that people like Pollock feared. My imaginary Mondrian might be thought-provoking when I see it each morning, but it is less meaningful than it would be in a museum.”

James Elkins’s most recent book is “On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.”

Instructor Note

I like this placement of Manet’s Olympia  much better, so I would agree with Victoria Newhouse. It can be done better.  Not sure which museum did this display. Olympia is part of the collection at the Musee d’Orsay.


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“Stressed Out” – A Musical Analysis Sample Blog

Some songs just stick with you. They strike a chord (pun intended).

Nobody told me that when I grew up that I was going to be the star of my own circus show, performing as both the ringmaster, the juggler, and substitute clown. Life was much simpler when I was in school. So it is no wonder that Stressed Out by Twenty-One Pilots, written by Tyler Joseph, resonates with me.


Click on the link below to hear the complete song.

Stressed Out – Twenty-One Pilots – 2015, USA.


The entertainment media talks about the lyrics to this hit song. And I would agree, they are some of the most haunting “coming of age” lyrics out there today. The longing for somebody to take care of us is expressed in the phrase – “When the momma sang us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out.” And who wouldn’t want to dream about rocket ships without the need to make money?

More than anything, this song has some surprising contrasts that complement the lyrics giving them a deeper emotional impact.

Melody and Range Contrasts

The contrasts start right out of the gate with the melody. First, the lyrics are done in a sing-song rap. It is relaxed, the tempo isn’t so fast that a mere mortal couldn’t rap along with Tyler. Then, in comes the pre-chorus. So simple a child could play it on the keyboard with one hand – five notes. That’s it. Then boom! A quote from Beethoven 5th Symphony. The rhythm is slightly different and it ends with an extra note.

“Wish we could turn back time – To the good old days”

Yep – that’s the same notes as the opening of Beethoven’s 5th, in the same order, with an added descending note on “days.”  This opening of Beethoven’s 5th has been described as the hand of Fate, knocking at the door. Barring horrible tragedy, growing up is our destiny.

Even so, it is a  really simple, uncomplicated, melody with a narrow range.  Then it shifts to big melodic leaps, both upwards and downwards as it brings the listener to the conclusion that simple has been transformed into something much more jagged and hard to negotiate. It’s brilliant songwriting.  Going from a simple 5 note range to a span of over an octave – simple to more complex. It captures the tension in the lyrics.

Timbre Choices

This song is about how much more challenging adult life can be. In order to highlight that contrast, there are some very clever contrasts in timbre. In several sections of the song – intro, pre-chorus, interludes, and outro  -there is a keyboard playing a sound that is reminiscent of the old science fiction television shows themes (Star Trek, Dr. Who, Twilight Zone). This contrasts with the driving drum beat with piano and bass that provide the majority of the accompaniment. I love this nostalgic touch that lends itself so well to the lyrics that mentions childhood dreams of rocket

Chord Choices

In a song that discusses how stressed out things can be now, it comes as no surprise that the chord progression in this work extends beyond the normal 3-4 chord progression. The verses only have 3 chords, but the chorus brings in 3 more chords for a total of 6 chords in the entire song. Just like life – it’s a bit more complicated. So again, the simple to complex theme in the melody is echoed in the chords. Nice!


So many little nuances that make this song work for me. It is edgy without being in your face. It is nostalgic without being depressing. I can hear the voices of concerned parents, who loved their kids, enough to push them out of the nest. I’m not surprised to learn that the duo of Twenty-One Pilots considers faith an important part of their lives.

Stressed Out is simple enough that I could play it on my ukulele, but it isn’t so simple that I could do it in my sleep. I should start learning how to perform this song, huh?

Twenty-One Pilots - October 2016

Twenty-One Pilots – October 2016


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Tests of video links


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How to make your introductory post

Click on the link below:

Create your first post tutorial.

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European vs. American Portraits – 1700’s

Warning to students – the following blog post is an example. It is not based on the topics given to you. If this were an assigned topic, it would the differences beetween European and American painting during the 1700’s.

During the first half of the 1700’s, fabulous portraits of European aristocracy and royalty developed into a well-developed style.  So much so, that it was actually called “The Grand Manner.” This style was also known as “swagger style.” and we can see why.

On both sides of the Atlantic, every attempt was made in these works to portray the elegance, wealth and social standing of the person portrayed in these fabulous portraits.  The setting was frequently taken to extremes, and the portrayals, while based on what the person looked like, was all about the exterior components of wealth and power.  Very little was conveyed about the interior life of the person.


Take for example Portrait of Jane Fleming, Countess of Harrington (1755-1824), by English painter Sir Joshua Reynold, painted in 1778.  Her surroundings suggest the power of a grand estate.  She has land and a balcony that sports an urn in the Grecian style.  She is dressed in ample folds of loosely draped fabric; suggesting a toga.  These reference to Classical antiquities was quite popular during this time frame.  They symbolically represent the Age of Reason and Enlightenment. While a fancy dress and jewelry are not presented in this portrait, the elaborate hair with plumage is certainly a symbol of wealth, power, and a private hairdresser.

Despite the  ostentatiousness of this portrait, I like it. It has strong lines. I see a triple diagonal line in this work: feather to finger, tree/clouds/trees blowing in the wind, and the draped cloth behind Jane Flemming. This gives the painting a very clean appearance, which goes well with the muted colors, that contain a lot of black (shades).  This puts the spotlight clearly on Countess’s face, creating a very clear focal point.

Would I want this painting in my house? No. I do appreciate it for the historical context. We have no idea what this woman was really like, but it is an interesting look into the social trends of the day.


Similarly, this portrait of King Louis XIV’s mistress Portrait of Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), painted by the French artist Francois Boucher in 1756 is even more determined to show the viewer the opulence of her setting. One can only image the number of man hours (or should I say woman hours) it took to create the ribbon flowers and ruching on her dress. Even in the background, the delicate intricacies of an ornately carved book case are reflected in an equally magnificent mirror.

This painting is clearly over the top swagger. It is so cluttered with depictions of filigree and ornament.  There are roses and papers strewn on the floor. We are even shown a reflection of the back of her head in the mirror. The subject matter overwhelms this painting.  It makes me think I wouldn’t get along with Madame de Pompadour, which is sad. She was a great patron of the arts, and a valued advisor to the king, even when her value as a sexual partner was discarded.  A great history lesson in this painting. Never in a million years would I covet a busy work like this one.

Americans had their swagger portraits too.


This 1775 American portrait: Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Izard (Alice Delancey), painted by American painter, John Singleton Copley, compares in many ways to the European portraits of the same period.  The table is ornately carved, the brocade is sumptuous and the echoes of ancient times can be seen in the background statue- that is not so far in the background that we would fail to notice it. However, there are clues that indicate that these people are not quite equal to the Europeans, particularly when it comes to female frills and fluff.  By comparison, Mrs. Izard’s hair style is much more subdued, as is her manner of dress and jewelry.

This portrait is still far too busy for my tastes. There are some very cool artistic considerations that draw me in. I love all the use of white to create the illusion of the carving on the table. See all those little tiny bits of white? The other feature that I think is amazing is the depiction of the see-through fabric on Mrs. Izard. See how it changes color from light blue to light brown? I love the virtuosity in that depiction. I marvel at the creativity and skill of the painter.

A case could be made that Americans were trending towards a different type of “swagger portrait.”


Regard this famous portrait: Paul Revere, done in 1768, and also painted by American painter John Singleton Copley.

The simplicity of this work is stark by comparison. The background is obscured. Tenebrism keeps the focus squarely on Paul Revere (who looks a bit like Jack Black). Even though this work is simple, it isn’t absent of virtuosity. Look at the soft use of white to create a depiction of the reflection on his desk.  See the broken line and faint color shift to suggest an ear under his hair? Artistry!

The “swagger” in this portrait isn’t in the finery and opulence.  By comparison, this work is quite austere.  The fancy background and clothes are completely absent in this portrayal. In fact, we see Mr. Revere at work, where he regards the audience as if he were just captured in a moment of deep reflection as he considers his creation. What we see displayed in this portrait is a focus on the personal traits as the most treasured possession of the portrait sitter. It reflects the eventual shift that would come as Americans turned their back on the idea that power was a privilege that could only be inherited.

 I would be more likely to have a work like this in my home. The historical significance of Paul Revere is a hindrance. It seems to anchor him to a specific time and cause, and I would prefer to have my personal collection a bit less specific.


“Grand Manner.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 July 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Boucher – Madame De Pompadour, 1750. By Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Perf. Smart History. N.p., 1 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.

“John Singleton Copley.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

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