NCKP 2011 | (3) Viable Video, by Pete Jutras

Here’s some notes from another session during the pre-conference seminar track “Student & Young Professionals:”

Viable Video: Basic Principles of an Effective Portfolio, by Pete Jutras.  W @ 4:00pm

Dr. Jutras divided his session into two sections: Content & Technique.


Some tips:

  • The quality of the teaching shown in the video trumps all.  Video editing does NOT mask: a lack of planning, poor communication, failure to diagnose problems, or poor sequencing of pieces.
  • When applying for a job, the kind of teaching videos taken for college pedagogy classes are generally not sufficient.  Those are equivalent to a “rough draft” or a “practice session,” while the video submitted to a job should be a well-polished video — the equivalent to a “recital performance.”  Practice teaching in front of the camera for many weeks before you start collecting for the real thing.  Then showcase your best moments.
  • When possible, tailor your video portfolio specifically to the job description and to your personal strengths as a teacher. 

Your video should include:

  • Evidence of planning — a goal to the activity, a clear understanding of the student’s issues/needs, well-sequenced steps, and clear student assessment.
  • Show your mastery of material — through effective modeling, multiple modes of explanation, and relating new things to previous knowledge.
  • Good communication — make eye contact with the student rather than talking to the piano, and be sure to allow the student to communicate during the lesson too.
  • Student success — we need to see it on the video!


Basic equipment:

  • Camera — look for HD quality (720p), which will cost between $100-200. A few models: Flip cameras, Kodak Play Sport, and the Sony Bloggie.
  • External microphone — one possibility is the Azden SMX-10 which costs around $65.
  • Tripod.
  • Editing platform — basic software comes included on most computers (Macs have iMove, and PCs come with Windows Movie Maker). Use this to add slides with text to introduce the student.
  • Place to share — CD or YouTube (be sure to get permission to post videos online).
  • Cameraman (optional).

When setting up the camera, there are some views to avoid.  Dr. Jutras showed us some short clips demonstrating these less-than-ideal video angles.  🙂

  • “The Hidden Student” angle.
  • “The Hidden Teacher” angle.
  • “The Backside” angle.
  • “The Class Piano Problem: case of the missing teacher.”

Ideally, the camera frame should show the student’s posture, hand position, face, and the teacher’s face.

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Much of this practical advice corresponds to the advice that Dr. Scott Donald offered in his earlier session on Teaching Videos, which you can read here.

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