Lets set the mood…

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.

Beethoven.com

Accuradio

Pandora

Do any of you use music to enhance the classroom environment? Any suggestions? Do you disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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About moriquendi23

I am a high school history teacher in west-central PA. I am also the producer/director of the schools drama plays and musicals, the scholastic quiz team coach, and assistant marching band director. Needless to say...I'm a pretty busy guy.
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5 Responses to Lets set the mood…

  1. Carl, I think it’s a great idea to add music to the classroom. While I’m not much of a classical music fan, I used music every now and then when teaching 6th grade Geography/Technology. I would usually play it as the kids were walking in and give them a small assignment. One I recall was Tom Petty “Refugee” when we were discussing immigration. Also, I loved playing music when the kids were keyboarding. I’d play a game where the students had to type with pennies on the back of their hands to keep them from looking at the keys and I’d play “The Final Countdown.” The last one with the pennies on their hands won the game. Cheesy, yes but you know what they say….whatever works.

  2. jksuter says:

    I very rarely play music during class as I find it to be a personal distraction. It’s not that I dislike music, quite the contrary, I have played in working bands for years. Maybe I am getting old and easily distracted since I don’t even listen to music when working in my office at home. I do however believe that each person is different and that music really helps some students to tune out the other distractions in the classroom and focus. Last year I started letting students listen to MP3 players while working. Some of my students who could cause the biggest classroom distractions not only got to work, but go work completed. One girl in particular probably passed my class simply because she was allowed to listen to music while she worked. I haven’t checked out your links yet but I will soon… might come in handy if the boss comes in someday and sees headphones in my students ears…

    • moriquendi23 says:

      I agree with you whole-heartedly. Our principle actually told us at a building meeting that he prefers students listening to their iPods when in the halls and study-halls because the occurrence of behavioral problems are way less. Also, allowing students to listen to their personal devices in class is a great reward, and tends to be the first privilege I take away when a student breaks classroom rules.

  3. cupprof says:

    Very interesting, thought-provoking post and comments. I had never thought about behavioral problems being less when students are using their ipods. I guess that’s why it’s so quiet on family trips, when all 3 boys are sharing a back seat in the car, listening to their ipods, and not fighting! Hmmmm…..

  4. D. Rager says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with using music in the classroom! I feel it not only sets an open minded and balanced classroom, but it calms the students . Music has long been used to help children to heal , the medical profession has done extensive research in this area,music not only stimulates certain areas of the brain that helps with memory and concentration, but the medical fields are now using music in O.R.s and in intensive care units as it has proven to help patients heal and the body to over-come trauma.

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