Intonation Instructional Video

Professional Development

A short video that teaches the viewer about pitch and intonation and provides opportunities to practice and self-assess aural skills.


  • Instructional Video
  • Premiere Pro
  • After Effects
  • Self-assessment

Problem Statement

Developing instrumental musicians often find it challenging to tune their own instrument. Instrumental music educators often take the time to tell students what to listen for and how to adjust their instrument, there is little time in a normal rehearsal schedule to dedicate to practicing the specific aural skill of identifying when a player is sharp or flat. The ability to hear one’s own pitch amidst an entire ensemble is an advanced aural skill that needs specific practice. The goal of this professional development project was to create a short instructional video that not only explained the concept but provided an opportunity for the viewer to practice the skill and to self-assess. This was also a challenge for me to make extensive use of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects software tools.

Design Process

The design process started with a storyboard, shown in the images below. This storyboard includes details about on-screen graphics, motion, animations, dialogue, and includes the plans for my practice and final assessment segments. This storyboard was a critical first step toward visualizing the final product. During this brainstorming and visualizing process, I had to consider how audio and video would be layered and cut together. As with traditional instructional design, the early prototypes and wireframes help ensure the final product has a design and format that will accomplish the set goals. Once the storyboard was complete, all the raw footage that was needed was filmed in bulk. This was straightforward since I had already planned most of the dialogue and pacing on the storyboard, including voice overs and B roll footage. With the footage complete, the bulk of the work was completed in Adobe Premiere Pro where footage was spliced and cut together, and audio was added. The most challenging segments were the activities which required rapid cuts between different images created in Photoshop along with test tones created in Audacity to give the illusion of an animated and interactive “assessment board.” After Effects was also used to create some simple motion graphics as well as the audio waveform at the beginning of the video


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Next Steps and Lessons Learned

This project highlighted the benefits of proper planning for design tasks. While I knew what I wanted the video to look and sound like without writing it down, completing the storyboard with detail helped to solidify the plan for which shots needed to be taken and which test tones needed to be recorded and saved. I also gained a lot of experience with pairing video and audio shots together and using keyframes and motion graphics to illustrate ideas. If I had the chance to enhance this project, I’d seek out a recording studio or private space that looks more professional to film the segments since that would help to create a more polished final product. Test viewers gave me feedback on audio levels, particularly balancing the music and voiceover, but I think there is still some more improvement to be done there.