Read the Episode with Bill Henry, Part 1

Introduction

Here is the Crescendo Music Education Podcast – Episode 34. In this episode, I talk to Bill Henry from Mr. Henry’s Music World. We have a chat about his journey as a music educator and gratitude, his YouTube channel, his podcast, we talk about how he makes the videos and then we talk a little further about how teachers can use them in their music classroom. I think you will find this episode very interesting and useful.

Sit back and enjoy listening to Bill Henry.

About ‘Read the Episode’: Sometimes, we would rather skim visually than listen to a podcast! That’s a great way to learn too! The transcript of episode 034 of The Crescendo Music Education Podcast is below.


Episode 34 “Read the Episode” Transcript

Introducing Bill Henry of Mr. Henry’s Music World

Debbie
Hello, Mr. Bill Henry, welcome to the Crescendo Music Education podcast.

Bill Henry
Hey, there, thanks so much for having me.

Debbie
It is really exciting to connect with you, especially since I’m only just getting to know of your work. So I’m looking forward to this podcast so that you can lead me, and any other listeners that might not know all of the things that you do, you can lead us to get to know you and all of the things that you provide for us as music teachers.

Bill Henry
Absolutely happy to do it.

Debbie
Exciting that we can meet via zoom. Now I’m going to start by reading just a brief bio, so that everybody knows where we’re at here. So Bill Henry, which a lot of people may know of you as Mr. Henry. Bill Henry is a seasoned elementary music teacher, presenter, and creator of the popular YouTube channel, Mr. Henry’s Music World, which offers high quality entertaining videos for music teachers, and kids, with millions of views across the channel. Bill is also the co-creator and producer of The Music Podcast for Kids, which was featured in The New York Times as one of the top music audio shows for kids in the world. That actually sounds quite flash. Tell us about that?

Bill Henry
Yeah, sure. Oh, that was. So I was actually on vacation. And all of a sudden, I got a text from my wife’s aunt. And she said, Bill, I am sitting here reading the New York Times, and your podcast, they’re talking about your podcast in here. I’m like, what, how is that? Even really, and thinking that maybe it was, you know, she just misunderstood.

But then she ended up sending the article she like took a picture of it and sent it and it was kind of strange, because around the same time, so I do the show The Music Podcast for Kids with a friend of mine, Bruce Fite, who’s also an elementary music teacher, we teach in the same county. He also got like, information that day about it, and then ended up, we ended up. I said, Bruce, did you see this? And he was like, Oh, my gosh, and then he’s like, actually, someone just texted me earlier about this, but I didn’t know what it was about. So it was definitely a surprise to find that, that the New York Times had written an article about about our show, so that was pretty cool.

Debbie
That’s that’s what you call a lovely surprise, isn’t it?

Bill Henry
Yeah.

Debbie
That’s fabulous. So that little brief bio, is there anything that you wanted to add to that?

Bill Henry
So yeah, I mean, I’m a, you know, elementary music teacher I’ve taught for this is my 17th year, I live in Pennsylvania, but I teach for the Maryland system. So the public school system there and teaching pre-K through fifth grade. I do their general music class, but then I also have a chorus as well. So yeah, that’s, you know, that’s what I’m doing day in and day out. Just, you know, as an elementary music teacher.

Debbie
Yes. It’s an exhausting, but wonderful job.

Bill Henry
It’s a lot of fun.

Debbie 4:09
Yeah, yeah. So in your years as a music educator, what would you consider a highlight or highlights of your journey so far?

Highlights of Bill Henry’s Journey So Far

Bill Henry
You know, honestly, the YouTube channel and even the podcast has really been been a highlight. It’s been something that, you know, leading up to doing YouTube and the podcast, I was creating things within the classroom, creating videos, and using those within my classroom. So to start to use those resources just on my own and seeing the reaction from kids was was really a lot of fun and a highlight and then to take it and put it on these platforms so that other people can connect with it. Kids can connect with it, but then it’s been really cool to see teachers connect with it, and teachers using the resources. And so that’s been just pretty amazing. So I’d say those are, those are a few highlights?

Debbie
Yes, it is magic isn’t that these really useful things because I often think teaching is a little bit like we sit in our own little world. And we work and work and work and provide the best for our own children, whereas that could be shared. It not only helps save other classroom teachers doing all that work, it’s providing them with something that they may not even have the skills to do, or the time to develop the skills. And so it just makes so much sense to be able to share.

Bill Henry
Yeah, yeah. So and that’s just it’s such, it’s really great to just get an email from someone saying, oh, man, my, you know, I got to use this resource and the kids really loved it. And you get requests from people. And I just, it’s just, it’s such a cool ride that’s going on right now.

Debbie
Yeah, it’s magic, isn’t it? And sometimes you even get a message randomly from some pink haired lady in Australia saying, “Hey this YouTube channel looks really cool. Could you on my podcast?”

Bill Henry
Yeah. It’s I mean, and yeah, just to sit here and be able to talk with someone across the world, you know? It’s just it’s really very cool.

Debbie
It is, I agree, very cool, still blows my mind. I think it’s wonderful. All right. I like to talk to all my guests about gratitude, things for which you’re grateful and people who’ve influenced you. I think it’s lovely for people to hear about your music education journey, and the wonderful resources you offer people like me to use in their classrooms. But I think it’s also important to acknowledge that personal gratitude, and people on your journey, I think it’s important, we stay grounded with some of that gratitude. And I love hearing that from people like you. So yeah. Could you share a bit about your gratitude and people who’ve influenced you?

What Bill Henry is Grateful For

Bill Henry
Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, I’ve, I’m very grateful for, you know, my family, my wife and kids, they’re super supportive of me and things that I do. And then my mum and dad also super supportive, they were both music majors. So it was definitely a part of my childhood, where music was always, you know, something that we were either performing altogether as a family. So there was like, we would be doing like, my mum.

And my mum was like, the soprano, my sister was the alto, I was a tenor, my dad was the bass baritone, we’ll be singing like four part harmonies, you know, at church and things like that, you know, so it was, it was always something that we were doing. We, my mum was a music education major. And so she taught elementary music, middle school, and so anytime, you know, she would have access to orff instruments and hand chimes and things like that. And so we’d be always playing with that stuff as well.

So it was just always something that that was a big part of part of my life. And I felt like it was kind of inevitable to turn into a music major, and then teacher and all of that. So, so they, they’re a huge influence. And they also, they, they got me involved with some, you know, high performing choirs. I was originally from Pittsburgh, and there’s a choir out of there called the Children’s Festival Chorus. It’s different now, the name of it, but that’s been long running for, you know, for a while, and so I was able to be a part of that through fourth through sixth grade. Through that, I had a lot of influence from those teachers.

And then then I was lucky enough to take piano lessons. And so I was definitely heavily influenced from from my teacher with taking piano, then, you know, as I went to college, I feel like that’s where a lot of influence started to roll in, you know, from professors. Because, you know, you’re really starting to hone in on your craft, and there was actually one, I actually started as a music business major.

Debbie
What were you thinking of doing business wise, what did you have in your mind?

Bill Henry
You know, I don’t know, I think I just wanted to gain some sort of skills in business, just to have something like that. Going through the program. I started to find out like, you could, I mean, they talked about different things. You could have a recording studio, you could end up you know, just working for like Guitar Centre or something like that being a manager or something. So, you know, as I started to kind of go through it, I was like, oh, I don’t really know.

But I stuck with it. But then one of the professors, I took his class and I had to give another kid a trumpet lesson. And at the end of it, he said, Bill, are you in music education? I said, No, I’m doing music business. He said, you need to do music education. And that was like a huge influence. That’s, that’s actually really the thing that got me into it. I called up my dad, like a week later, I’m like, Yo, can I add music education, knowing that it was gonna take a little more time to get everything completed, because I was about halfway through.

So he’s like, I had a feeling you would ask that. I ended up adding that. So that was a huge influence. And then once I got to student teaching, those two, my high school placement and elementary placement had a huge influence. So super grateful for all of those people along the way. Like when I think when we think of influencers, we think of like, maybe someone famous or something like that. And I can’t say that I have anyone like that, really, it’s mostly the people that directly you know, I connected with throughout my time.

Debbie
That is wonderful. Now, I found you, as I said before, through your YouTube channel, now, I will confess, I’m only just beginning to explore the YouTube channel. And you’ve told us about your podcast, which I’d love to hear about that I’m gonna have to tune in and have a listen, obviously, I love podcasts. So there’s so so many things that we can talk about. So what we’ll make sure we do is I’ll get a list of links from you to all of your wonderful stuff.

And we’ll put that in the show notes so that if people want to go further than what we can talk about that would be great. Is there anything that you could elaborate as a summary of your projects and creations? Or could it be really simply summed up as my YouTube channel and my podcasts? Is there more to sort of add to that list of projects and creations?

Highlights of Bill Henry’s Work

Bill Henry
Yeah, I mean, those are definitely the two main things, the YouTube channel so the YouTube channel, there’s Mr. Henry’s Music World, and that’s where I’m doing a bunch of rhythm play alongs, Boomwhackers play alongs, trying to do some different games and things like that. There’s like animated shorts, which just describes simple things like a quarter note or a you know, half note, things like that.

And then the podcast is, yeah, that’s, it’s different. In mean, it’s called The Music Podcast for Kids and that’s something that teachers have been using in the classroom. It’s almost like the total opposite of the channel in a way because the channel, Mr. Henry’s Music World is obviously very visual, right?

They’re videos, kids are engaged that way. But part of the mission with the podcast is to have kids use their imagination and listen to so it’s like a story based type of podcast, it’s not really us talking about like, Oh, this is, you know, we’re trying to, we’re talking about music and teaching about music, but we’re doing it through like stories.

And actually, like, one of the episodes is we’re talking about music from Australia. And we actually got to have Do you know, Tim Topham? Are you familiar with him?

Debbie
No.

Bill Henry
Okay, you gotta check him out. He’s big in the like, private lesson world, like for piano and he’s based in Australia. So we had him on the show, and got to talk to him about, you know, kind of some things thatare going on there. But the story is basically, Bruce and I were traveling to Australia. And you know, we always find ourselves in these ridiculous situations, like, the only way we could get there was through a submarine. Right? So we’re traveling in the submarine.

You know, so there’s these things that happen to us along the way. But of course, we’re talking about different aspects of, you know, music of Australia. So that’s, like an example of how that works. And so what’s great about that is, you know, and I have kids listen to the show in in class, and they are, the all of them will say, Mr. Henry, there’s, where’s the picture? It sounds like there should be a picture. But there’s no picture.

And it’s it’s supposed to enable kids to get a break away from the screen, listen, and use their imagination. And so that’s like a big part of the goal of that show. So, yeah.

Debbie
Yes. And I can see how we need that. I mean, just yeah. Just Friday, it must have been, or Thursday, I played a piece of music for something and the children said to me, but I can’t see it.

Bill Henry
Right.

Debbie
No, no, this is just the music.

Bill Henry
We’re just listening.

Debbie
They’re so used to having the screen. So yeah, that’s great. Oh, We will have to explore that. That sounds fabulous. I would like to have a chat to you about one of your, you’ve got four main types of your rhythm play alongs, boomwhacker play alongs. So four corners and animated shorts, you’ve mentioned the animated shorts.

You might play that within a lesson, to reinforce a concept that you’ve taught, just a different way of doing it. So I’d like to hear about one of these, I’d like to hear about all of them, actually, but we don’t have forever. So I think you pick one. And then just tell us a little about how you create them.

And then how teachers can use them. I have a YouTube channel, and I love love playing around and have some rhythm play alongs and bits and pieces. But it takes so long to do one, you’ve got to say, right, this is my main thing. I’m going to spend this time, create these videos, and I know how long they can take. So I’d love to know a bit about your process, as well as some hints about how classroom teachers can get to use them.

Bill Henry’s Music-Making Process and Tips for Teachers

Bill Henry
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So the boomwhacker play alongs. That’s something that I’ve been playing around with more recently. And most of them are not just strictly, they’re just playing Boomwhackers the whole time,what I’m trying to do is incorporate. So a lot of the videos are these like rap videos, those are usually the ones that a lot of people are using. So like recently, I just had, its Run Turkey Run is one of the recent ones. And that is the kids are singing, but they’re also playing along with Boomwhackers.

Now you could choose to not use the Boomwhackers, you could just teach the song and the kids could just sing along with that. But what’s great, what I like doing is having the kids singing along with it, but also concentrating on using the Boomwhackers. So there’s like a couple of different like within that one in particular, there’s actually two lines that you could have, you could have one group doing the melody, they’re just playing the bom, bom, bom, bom, bom. While another group is playing the chords underneath.

So you could actually I mean, it could be pretty elaborate what you could do, or you could do none of that and just have them sing along with it and pad along, right. So there’s a couple different levels that you could do just within that video. But then in that video, kids are also putting the Boomwhackers down, they’re standing up, they’re doing body percussion, there’s rhythm play along within there.

So I’m trying to mix kind of all of it together. And the Boomwhackers are just to get some extra playing going on in there. So that’s something that I’ve been doing recently, in terms of the process, it will like you said, it does take a long time, the Boomwhacker, the way that I’m creating the Boomwhackers section of it, in particular, is I’m really just like I’ve made the Boomwhacker notes with the different colors.

And I’ve done that through a program I use called Snapper, which is an online program. Snapper is basically, it’s just a platform to you can make thumbnails on there. And I mean, basically doing any sort of like digital kind of art. So I use that a lot. I’ll create things and then just you just download it and then I plug it into Final Cut Pro. So Final Cut Pro is the program that I use. I’m a Mac user, all of the music is created within Logic Pro. So that’s just the like pro version of the name is escaping my mind right now.

Debbie
GarageBand.

Bill Henry
Yes, GarageBand Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, so Logic Pro is the pro version of GarageBand, essentially. So me, I usually usually my process once once I have that, you know, boom whacker. Note, I put that in there. And I start to arrange how I want it to look, I start create backgrounds for and once I kind of have that set, then I’ll be creating the music, sometimes the music is coming before that, typically, it’s coming before that. So I’m creating the music before that. And that really just gives me a lot of freedom.

There’s a lot of boom, micro play alongs where, you know, people are just using tracks that are already written, which is totally cool. But with that, it’s a little bit harder to dictate exactly what you want, right? With this, I can choose the tempo, I can choose, you know, the section how I want it to go, how I want it to flow from this to that. So it really allows me to have that total control over what the kids are going to do within that lesson. Once I have like the music and an idea of what it’s going to look like, then I start to get the guy or object or whatever it is to start working on the having a bounce on it.

And so with that, I’m just going into Final Cut Pro, and I’m specifically telling it where to move on the screen, and usually how I match it up with the music is I actually pull the music out completely. And I just have like a click track. So if I know like, or I’ll, if the rhythm is not exactly, you know, just going with a click track, and it has that particular rhythm, I’ll usually play the melody. But then I’ll just strip down the music to where I only have that melody.

Debbie
Sorry, does that mean you use the wav file, the audio wav file to help you match where the pictures going?

Bill Henry
Exactly. So I can now see, so with that audio, I can see where it is. Now I can, you know, tell it to jump on that particular note, right when that music is going on. So that’s another nice thing about creating the music is that I can just strip it down to where I can only see the melody of the part that is performed by the Boomwhackers. You know, so that just gives you a rough idea. I mean, there’s a lot of more stuff going on. But that’s that’s a basic idea of really how it’s put together.

Debbie
That is great, and stripping that down. Because that is one of, not that I use anything as flash as Logic Pro, I’ve just got Camtasia on my PC. But sometimes it’s so difficult to line things up when the audio track is so dense.

Bill Henry
Right?

Debbie
I don’t know if that’s the right words, but you know what I mean?

Bill Henry
No, I know exactly what you mean.

Debbie
Yeah, I hadn’t even thought even a click track would make the biggest, a separate one. Thank you, you’ve saved me a bit of time in the future.

Bill Henry
Yeah, yeah, definitely a click track will will definitely help that. Because visually, you’ll be able to see what’s going on. Yes. Yeah.

Debbie
So most I zoom right in, zoom right in, zoom right in. Try and isolate the one little wave that is actually on the beat? Yes. Right. Yep. Fabulous. Thank you. And how long do you reckon it take, though? Look, that’s a silly question. I want to ask you how long it takes you to create a video, but I know that that question is like, how long is a piece of string? Really? And it depends how focused it is.

Bill Henry
How elaborate. You know, right?

Debbie
Could you give it a guess?

Bill Henry
Yeah, probably. Now I’m starting to get pretty good at it. You know, and once you get good at it. Yeah. I mean, like, I know, the formula. I know pretty much what I want to do. But, you know, even with knowing what to do, it’s probably a good 20 hours, you know, just to do one that’s going to be ranging, that’ll be like a four to six minute video. You know?

Debbie
That’s a lot isn’t it, it takes so much time.

Bill Henry
Yeah, it takes a lot.

Debbie
All I can say is, thank you for sharing.

Bill Henry
Yeah, absolutely. It’s fun. No, I really love it. I really love doing it.

Debbie
I’m glad you love doing it. Because we love using them. So there you go, win win. Oh now, as for teachers using them? I don’t know, most of them, I guess it’s pretty obvious the way that you could use them isn’t once you click on them, and more experienced teachers would go, like you said, actually, this is a bit complex for this year level, we’ll just sing along and watch. And then the older kids, like you said, you can add layers. Would you have any other suggestions for teachers about using your videos?

Bill Henry
Yeah, I mean, there’s like the rhythm play alongs, for example, you could, you could just have the kids just clap through it, and that be it, but something that I’ll do, like I have my classes in five lines, so I usually have five different instruments for each line. And in between, typically, in between the play alongs, there’s a little bit of, there’s a gap of time from one to the next. It’s not just like a constant constant.

So within that gap of time, the kids, you know, they’re trained at this point, they know what to do, they just switch, they switch those instruments, you know, really quick, so that, you know, we get, you know, playing those different instruments and getting used to how to play the hand drum and how to play you know, the rhythm sticks correctly and all that good stuff. So that that’s just another way you could do it instead of just clapping through it. You could have you know, that switch of instruments so that kids get exposed to performing those.

Debbie
Yeah, I love that. I love that. You know, one of my little things. I don’t do it too often. Another really cool thing with rhythm play alongs is attach melody to it. So now I have to echo but maybe improvising a melody using notes they know on whatever instruments you know if if they know G and E on recorder, then you can play back the rhythm, improvising pitch. There’s actually just so many things you can do really?

Bill Henry
Yeah, that’s a great idea. Yeah, for sure.

Debbie
So that’s wonderful. Oh, Well, I can just see so many people getting in and doing this.

This podcast is brought to you by Crescendo Music Education connecting, supporting and inspiring music educators. In the show notes, you’ll find links to Crescendo’s social media platforms. Please connect with me and be part of the Crescendo community. You might consider becoming a Crescendo member. For a low annual fee you can access hundreds of files, worksheets, printables workbooks, repeat workshops and webinars and receive great discounts on events. So come and connect with me Debbie O’Shea. See you in the socials.

Sign Off

This podcast is brought to you by Crescendo Music Education, connecting, supporting, and inspiring music educators. You’ll find links to Crescendo’s social media platforms in the show notes. Please connect with me and be part of the Crescendo community. You might consider becoming a Crescendo member. You can access hundreds of files, worksheets, printables workbooks, repeat workshops, and webinars for a low annual fee and receive great discounts on events. So come and connect with me, Debbie O’Shea. See you in the socials.

Just for Laughs

As we know laughter relieves stress. Don’t lose sight of the funny side of life.

What’s Whitney Houston’s favorite type of coordination? You ready for it? Here we go. Hand Eye, I’ll try it again, hand eye, oh my gosh, I’m gonna try this one more time. Okay. Hand eyeeye, Oh, for goodness sake, hand-eye.

It’s a terrible joke.


Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Programs Bill uses to create YouTube videos:

Find Bill Henry on:

Where to find me:

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