One of the issues that comes up frequently is the issue of copyright (see the September 10th post). One of the areas that copyright has made the news is in music. Frequently, I get requests to open sites that are dedicated to music. Music can be powerful in education. It can help students focus. However, just because one has access to a music site, doesn’t mean that it is legal to play that everywhere. This quickly gets to be a grey area.
The sites that I’m most often asked to open, are sites that are designed to be listened to by an individual. These sites are not designed to be played for a group (that frequently includes schools). Reading through Terms of Service policies can be loads of fun (not really, usually it involves a bunch of “what?”, rereading and trying to figure out-1. what they meant to say, 2. what they really said and 3. what it means to schools legally).
That being said, there are some good resources on the web that can be used. One thing to look for is Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons attempts to clarify what can be used and how (I use Creative Commons for everything that I publish). The idea behind Creative Commons is to make it easy to understand what can be used and how. For example, they have a license that says that you can use the material but must provide attribution as to who created it.
Please note that there is a difference between Royalty Free and Free. Royalty Free means that you don’t have on going charges to use the music. Frequently, Royalty Free music must be paid for in the beginning, and then you are “free” to use it. Royalty Free music is not usually what people (educators) are looking for.
So what’s this got to do with music? Well, since I’m receiving lots of requests, I thought that I’d find a couple of sites that teachers can freely use.
Kevin McLeod provides a wide range of music that you can download and use (with attribution). If you use any of the music in a presentation, add a slide with credit to Kevin for the music. [ There are ads on the page. Try clicking on any of the selections under Genre, Search, or Feel, then scroll down and pick a song. Click the arrow to listen, Click “download” to, well, download. ]
Musopen is another site that provides free music.
Musopen (www.musopen.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.
Again, please be wise about music usage. Just because it is technologically possible, doesn’t mean that it is the right thing (or legal) to do.
If you have questions, drop us a line.