I adore listening music and I find that, with the right jam, music increases my productivity, creativity and decreases my stress levels. I believe that music in the classroom can be similarly beneficial to most students; providing that it is used appropriately! Here are my 6 Top Tips for playing music in class plus some recommended sites/ playlists.
1.Check if you have any students who will be severely disturbed or unsettled by music in the classroom. Some people just do not work well with music and you need to be aware and respectful of this. Firstly, make sure to know your students before regularly playing music in your classroom. Some students with hearing impairments or Special Educational Needs could find the playing of music too overwhelming and it will hinder productivity and could result in off-task behaviour. Secondly, check in regularly with students (with a quick hands up) whether they want music to be played during an activity, or not. Remember there are more of them than you; the majority rules and compromise is key.
2. Use music to make a positive start to the day. I tend to heavily rely on music to give my classroom a calm and inviting atmosphere in the mornings. I feel it fills the room with life and can really help to set the tone for the day. I have noticed that my class are much more unsettled when music is not played in the morning (aka I am flapping and have forgotten). Playing Disney piano, Star Wars soundtrack or pop piano tunes are a sure fire hit with my class and they enjoy listening for the songs they know.
3. Use songs and rhymes to reinforce teaching points. I think that if annoying commercial jingles can stay in your head, then so can times tables! I like to incorporate a short song into as many lessons as possible as it not only gives the children a break from my voice but can be a successful way in cementing a teaching point. Songs for teaching things like the times tables, phonics and even things like manners are all readily available on Youtube. One of my personal favourites has to be a song that teaches children about area and perimeter via two cats! Check it out here.
3. Use music as a Behaviour Management Tool. “I can’t hear our music which means our voices are too loud” is a very common statement in my classroom. So much my class have started saying it too! It is a great way to set the noise level and, with enough practise, the children should be able to self-manage themselves.
I also use musical timers to set time limits on tasks and tidying. This helps the children to stay on task and to focus on their work and provides a non-verbal way to get the children to stop when needed. It also removes the need to display a timer which can mean you can’t display content on the board! See this website for some great timers!
4. Use music to stimulate children’s imagination during writing tasks. If a writing task lends itself to some auditory accompaniment – use it! If you are writing about fantasy play some fantasy music, if you are writing a non-chronological report about the Rainforest put on some rainforest sounds to help their imaginations. Just this week I used rainymood to help my children describe a storm at sea which helped my class to generate some really interesting and specific vocabulary.
5. Use music as a reward. My Year 3 class love music and they will do anything for a chance to have a little dance or a sing-along at the end of the lesson. I use Disney Sing-Along as a reward for hard work in a lesson and they are especially loving to sing along to the Matilda soundtrack at the moment!
So those are my 6 top tips for playing music in your classroom.
Will you be trying any of them in your classroom?
What do you think about playing music in the classroom?
Do you have any top sites or songs that are a hit with your class?
Thanks for reading!