How to Enhance Learning By Using Music in the Classroom
The benefits of using music in the classroom are well documented. Carefully selected songs can give children more energy and motivation, put them in a positive mood, boost creativity, promote relaxation and focus, and make classes more fun and memorable.
In order to use music effectively in the classroom, it’s important to pick the right tracks for particular purposes, occasions and topics. Here are some quick-fire suggestions…
10 ways to use music in the classroom
- As a warm-up before class. Some simple vocal warm-ups accompanied by actions can provide stimulation during those sleepy morning and post-lunch lessons, making your class feel more alert and productive.
- To introduce and reinforce new topics. Look for primary school music resources specifically geared towards the curriculum to help boost learning across subjects such as maths, literacy, history, languages and PHSE.
- To promote active learning. Play music associated with the topic in hand whilst summarising all the important information. Dramatic, interesting and humorous music works best.
- To create the right atmosphere. Playing music as children enter and exit class can help set the preferred mood. If they tend to be rowdy after lunch, opt for calming music; if you have an active lesson planned, play something more upbeat.
- To increase focus. Play music of 50 to 80bpm such as Bach, Handel or Telemann during lessons to stabilise their internal rhythms and promote an atmosphere of deep concentration.
- To maintain attention. Play more energising music such as Mozart to keep them engaged whilst carrying out activities and reading.
- To aid memorisation. Find songs, chants, poems and raps that incorporate rhyme, rhythm and melody to help children memorise important concepts.
- To build a sense of community. Pick a classroom theme tune, such as a greeting or parting song, and use it daily to reinforce bonds within your class and develop a sense of cooperation. These school songbooks for children contain some suitable ones.
- To promote creativity. Put on some reflective music such as solo piano while children are working to get their creative juices flowing.
- To promote personal expression. Ask each child to contribute their individual thoughts and feelings on an emotive topic you have covered and work together to turn these into a song. Add drama with some simple percussion, such as triangles, tambourines and foot tapping.
Adapted from Chris Boyd Brewer’s excellent guide, Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom for the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Read the original article for song suggestions, teachers’ tips and information on the research that has explored the use of music in the classroom to date.
Heather is writing on behalf of Out of the Ark, a leading writer and publisher of quality songs and musicals for primary school children. Visit www.outoftheark.co.uk to browse their selection and order songbooks online for delivery, or check out their YouTube channel to sample some of their songs.