Integrating Music into the Classroom

Ludwig von Beethoven once said, “Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents.”

Music affects the way people feel and do things. We play music to make us happy, to bring back memories, to focus and relax, and even to sleep. Without our even thinking about it, music has become a powerful tool to express what we feel.

In classrooms, the intentional use of music is seen to create a positive learning environment, especially in creating a stimulating yet relaxing atmosphere. Based on various research and papers, using music in the classroom enhances teaching and learning activities. It makes the learning process more interesting and fun. Some studies show that those who are active listeners of music are better students. Regular use of music has also been shown to improve spatial learning and reasoning in children. They become better learners and independent problem solvers. Moreover, teachers who use music as a way to set a routine or who use it in the background help students to focus, direct their moods, and improve their concentration.

Specific Ways Music Can Be Used in the Classroom

There are three areas of teaching where music can be highly effective.

To learn information:

Music can be particularly helpful in remembering information and learning things. It helps create a highly focused and receptive state of mind wherein learners–to a great extent–absorb both vocabulary and reading material. This happens because the musical elements of rhyme and rhythm provide a hook for recalling information. Music activates the mental, physical, and emotional states of the students, thus enhancing their understanding of the learning material. On the other hand, music–like the Baroque music of Bach, Handel, or Telemann–can also be used to stabilize mental, physical, and emotional rhythms, thus allowing students to attain a state of deep focus and concentration.

To achieve the three A’s: Attention, Attitude, and Atmosphere:

Certain types of music create a positive learning atmosphere for students. The music will help them feel welcome to participate in the learning experience. You can set and maintain their attention and focus by using certain rhythms and tempo of a musical sound. For instance, the use of background music helps to prepare and motivate students for learning tasks. It can also provide a positive atmosphere to encourage students to interact with each other.

For personal expression:

Using music during creative activities helps facilitate writing, art, and other modes of personal expression. It is possible to stimulate internal processing using background music. Play solo piano either in contemporary or classical styles when students are journaling or writing.

As teachers integrate music with the learning experience, they may also find transformations occurring in other aspects of their lives. As many say, the things that you do as a teacher reverberate and echo in your lives as well.

Some final notes: If you are new to using music in the classroom, coordinate with the music teacher in your school. Also, vary the music that you showcase to your students. Listen to different genres and study and analyze the appropriateness of the song’s lyrics.

Maria Dublin
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Maria is a writer, an editor, and a law student. She plays for the Philippine national touch football team, and does a lot of travelling during the holidays.