November 29, 2016

VAHPERD Ideas Worth Sharing Part 3: Music Like You've Never Heard Before

Welcome back for part three of my VAHPERD review series! I am so excited to share this session with you all as it blew my mind when I sat through it. This edition is all about music in PE, how to edit it with iTunes, and the legality of it all. This amazing session was titled Music, Let's Get Your Gym Rocking and was presented by Patrick Lynch of Hampton County Public Schools. He was generous enough to include tutorial videos for those of us that attended! That means you'll get to read and see how to remix all of your songs for future classes.

The most useful thing we learned about during this session was how to edit track lengths in iTunes. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to use a song that I know the kids will love, only to find it uses bad language and an edited version isn't available. If only I could shorten it to the first thirty seconds or use a small segment somewhere within the track... WELL NOW I KNOW HOW thanks to Patrick.

Converting Songs from YouTube to an MP3 File (legally):

  1. Go to and search for a song you would like to convert.
  2. Once you have found the song you are looking for, copy the URL link from the top of the browser.
  3. Visit and input the URL you copied from the YouTube video into the "Insert video link (URL) and select format" box.
  4. The video will convert and give you the option to provide the artist name and song title. This will be automatically filled in, but you have the opportunity to edit the names if you'd like to.
  5. Click continue and you will see a "download"button. Click download and the file will save to your computer.
  6. Open iTunes and select File and select upload file.
Confused? Don't be because you will find Patrick's step-by-step guide on how to do everything I've just mentioned. Start this video from the beginning and pause around the 4:00 minute mark to read the next section.

Editing Songs in iTunes:
  1. Select the song you would like to edit.
  2. Right click, select get info and then select options
  3. Once here select Adjust equalizers and then select start & stop time {this allows you to fully edit the track}
  4. Select the portion of the song you'd like to use {Example: Start at 1:30 | End at 1:55}
  5. Select Input into playlist when you're ready to use

Your track is now ready to play for the times you selected! Like all good things however, there is a con to this method. The song is shortened no matter what until you either make a copy of the track or go through the steps above and reset the settings you've used. Luckily, Patrick taught us how to make this transition simple:
  1. You can change the track back to its original formatting after use

    Skipping the original steps above...
  2. Select the song you would like to edit.
  3. Right click, select options, and then select AAC version.


    Using the steps above and working with the already edited version...
  4. Select the edited track, select file, and select create AAC version
  5. Rename files to say something different (i.e. Uptown Funk - Workout)
This second process allows you to keep your original file untouched, while creating a new file to use in playlists for your classroom. Confused? Not to worry, below you will find Patrick's step-by-step guide on how to do everything I've just mentioned. Skip to the 4:00 minute mark in the video to specifically see how to cut songs in iTunes.

Why does any of this matter?

Music is an essential component to each of our HPE classrooms. We have the power to change the environment we create with every song and activity. Music helps students connect to our content and express themselves while participating in activity.

Below are some ideas on how to utilize music in your classroom using these tools:

  1. Workouts: Make an uptempo song clip that last 20 seconds for the students to be working throughout, followed by a 10 second slower tempo for a break or transition phase.
  2. Stations: You could also use 1 minute long clips to signal for station rotations - when the song changes, students know to switch
  3. Full Song Workouts: Certain songs that use the same word repeatedly are awesome for warm-ups and small workouts throughout class. For example, AC/DC's Thunderstruck says the word Thunder 33 times. When they hear the word, they perform an exercise you've specified (like a burpee), while the rest of the song is playing they perform a lower intensity movement (like a high knees march).
FitnessGram Will Never Be the Same:

Finally, how many of you have the Pacer test track memorized? Let's just be honest and admit that we all do. We hate the musical background it has and the kids do too... So let me (er, Patrick) rock your world with the following information:


What!? Yes, you read that correctly. Check out the video below as Patrick shows you how to utilize Garage Band to rearrange the tragic background music of the pacer.

I hope each of you found the information from this session as amazing and life changing as I did! It has taken me a few tries to get the directions right so if you try it out and struggle with it, just know to keep trying! The more you do it, the more natural the process will become, and the more your students will enjoy music in your classroom!

Check back next week for the final part of my VAHPERD review series to learn all about an incredible central nervous system integrated activity {drum roll please...} that can be used for middle AND elementary students (with minor adaptations)!

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