Background music is a tricky thing

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Background music is a tricky thing

It took us some experimenting to realize the following about background music in the videos. Background music throughout an entire video is neither negative or positive for student experience by itself. It becomes negative or positive in a specific context. In our experience, having it throughout a video that does not really require a deep understanding, but simply requires students to 'look and repeat,' is just fine. In fact, students appreciate that because it makes the video less boring and more vibrant. It has a positive effect,. However, if the video requires more than just repeating a task and actually requires understanding (e.g. explaining a formula), then it's best to remove all background music since it hinders the understanding process. It all depends on context.  

 

Here are some tip for background music which we want to share and maybe they help you:

 

  • If the music has drums, it's going to interfere with your speech too much. 
  • You want music that has minimal volume variation (so music that starts soft and then suddenly becomes louder, is your enemy). If it does not have minimal volume variation by itself, most video editing softwares like Camtasia allow you to minimize the variation of the volume. 
  • Soft piano jazz elevator music is generally the best overall choice.
  • Always have a fade in of 1-2 seconds. You do not know what volume the student is using and you don't want to suddenly blast heavy metal music intro in their ears when they press play. Give them time to gradually get used to it.

 

3 Replies

@SSAA Thank you for sharing your tips! This would be useful for those considering adding background music to their lectures 

Thanks, this is very helpful.  I tried some auto-generated music several years ago, but got some complaints. 

 

And in an 8.5 hour course, using some 2 minute royalty free clip on continuous loop does not sound like the best approach.

 

Do you have suggestions on where to get longer clips of, as you say, soft piano jazz elevator music?

 

Auto generated would be best.  Royalty free would be better, but I'd be willing to pay a moderate amount if I could get something that work for my whole course.

 

Thanks so much,
Bill

 

Hi Bill, 

Yep, using that 2 minute loop isn't going to make happy campers. You have a whole bunch of options actually, most under 100 USD that allow you actually access to thousands of songs for a variety of videos. For instance, artlist.io is an example. However it is just an example, I really do not want to portray them as somehow the best one among all, since I haven't tried all. You can also consider just buying specially made for you tracks on fiverr.com This is nice if you want to make a special intro or jingle just for you. Artists on fiverr cover the whole spectrum, from super expensive to very affordable depending on how much social proof they have and their skills.  

 

Bets of luck!

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Audio and video solutions
Figure out how to create the best audio and visual set-up for your price point and skill level. This is a great place to chat about different mics, green screens, video editing software, and more.