I decided to continue with my environment theme that I started with my previous blog post. For this post, I wanted to stress the importance I have in adding music to my classroom environment. I am a strong believer in the power of music to strengthen the mind, focus attention, and lighten moods. All one has to do is think of any movie they love, what would that movie be like with no soundtrack? Or, how often do you listen to that favorite CD, LP, 8-track, cassette, when the day is less than par and you just need to relax for a while. The benefits of music in the classroom are well documented and a leading area of Educational Psychology these days. For more information you can read this helpful article, or this one, or this fine piece. The students really enjoy the environment it creates, and also work hard to earn the reward of listening to their own iPods or mp3 players during classwork time.
The type of music I play typically is either classical (instrumental) or jazz. These are two genres of music today’s youth do not have a lot of exposure to and definitely should! Since I mainly teach European History 1500-1900, the selections I play usually match up to the dates we are discussing in class. The other benefit of playing this music is you are free from any copyright headaches due to the age of the music. There are a lot of free websources for music that you can use. Here are some of my favorites.
Do any of you use music to enhance the classroom environment? Any suggestions? Do you disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!