12 WAYS TO USE MUSIC IN THE CLASSROOM
1. To improve mood
Set the mood for the class. Positive music played at the beginning of the class or during breaks can help keep the mood uplifting and engaging. More relaxing songs could be played to calm down sessions.
2. To help keep the classroom tidy!
One of my strongest memories of primary school is cleaning up to the tune of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ by Randy Newman. By the end of the song we all had to be finished and sat down silent on the floor. It’s amazing how quickly we managed to do it every time.
3. To improve memory
Music is often used as an aid for memory, making up songs to help remember certain equations or literary devices, etc. You can change the words to well known songs or nursery rhymes. For most, remembering the lyrics to a song is much easier than just learning a list of items.
4. As poetry
Music can be incorporated into any lesson. For example for use in English lessons as poetry, lyric sheets of the student’s favourite songs can be printed and children can circle the nouns, adjectives and verbs.
5. As a background soundtrack
Although sometimes silence is important for learning, during individual activities a playlist could be created to fill the background and improve focus. It can also set the tone for the lesson as mentioned earlier.
6. To teach
Use songs to teach context, for example a history lesson on World War II might listen to songs from this time period and well-known songs from the war such as some favourites of mine ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
7. To help with listening skills
Song can create a challenge of recognising words and careful listening; lyric worksheets could be created with gaps for children to fill in the missing lyrics that they hear. What’s more, studies have shown that playing music increases a listeners ability to hear someone speaking over background noise, suggesting a benefit for learning phonemes.
8. For collaboration
Creating music often involves collaboration. Composing really challenges students to work together. During Mindful Music sessions, we’ve seen our pupils improve their ability to take turns, listen to one another and offer one another useful feedback.
9. As writing prompt
Music can be used as a tool in writing. Listen to a piece, think about the images and ask children to write something based on the music.
10. For learning
There are so many educational songs available out there on every topic and for all stages. Learning a song can be much more engaging and a melody more memorable than reading a textbook. We love Adam Up for memorable maths songs.
11. Cultural studies
As a way of learning about other cultures, world music can be studied and also recreated whilst learning about the geography and other facts about the region.
12. Foreign Language
Those songs that everyone knows can be translated into other languages and easily remembered. As well as translating listing to songs written in the target language can be another way to inspire language learning.
About the author:
Izzy helps with Mindful Music's Community Engagement. She is a Politics and International Relations student who helps run the Reading University Gospel Choir.