I have always been a fan of using music in the classroom. Like other strategies a teacher has at their control the use of music is an important tool in a teacher’s tool kit. It can be used to calm a class down after a lunch break, help to chill the class out after an active weekend or busy session prior to yours.
I liked playing music as students came into my classroom that approach went for my adult Teacher Training students as well! I feel that it helps to set the tone of the classroom- if the music is chilled out, then the atmosphere and the teacher is as well (albeit, on the surface). I found that through the use of music I could help settle the students into the session and set the ground for learning to take place. If I wanted to energise the students I might play something a little more upbeat and lively the sub-text is- ‘get ready to learn!’
Now I should say that this music was being played, for a period of time not all the time throughout the session. Just when I needed it, in fact I would make a point of turning the music down when I was about to speak- of course I made it clear, that the only one who had control over the music was me!
Why does music become so effective when used in the classroom? Because music is powerful. Don’t under estimate the power of music. Now here is the science bit (concentrate).
‘Hearing a piece of music stimulates primitive, evolutionarily ancient and deep brain structures,” “That means music affects us on an unconscious level, before we have time to think about it.” says Dr Ruth Herbert, author of Everyday Music Listening.
“We know that listening to a piece of music can stimulate production of endorphins – the feel-good hormones. This reaction helps us to do everything from balancing our moods and emotions to bonding with each other.”*
That’s the science behind music, I saw the difference in my classroom, my learners. The area I taught in leant itself to use of music in the session. I didn’t always use it, like other teaching methods, its best to use a wide variety of strategies and techniques- keep em guessing!
My top tips for using music in the classroom
Use it on arrival, to set the tone of your classroom- it might be chill out, something with a beat behind it, or a classical vibe.
Use it to support activities, like group discussions, no one wants to talk in a quiet room, so play some music to help facilitate conversations. (a bit of chill out dubstep works wonders in this environment)
Use it to reward certain activities, like tidy up time or practical work, the music becomes the backbone of the activity, to help spur the learners and the learning onwards.
To answer my question, yes I believe Music can help learning, how about you?