Music is the universal language of all nations. The sound of music reaches deep into our spirit and awakens our innermost most feelings, thoughts, and emotions. We ae thrilled, inspired and motivated by the sound of music.
The world without music is boring and expressionless.
So are many classrooms across America. Learning without any form of musical enhancement is tough for students. However, the effective use of music can change the entire mood of the classroom and transform it into a dynamic learning environment.
Studies show that music in the classroom establishes a positive state, creates an ideal atmosphere, increases attention, improves memory and enhances imagination, to name a few. According to a study at Johns Hopkins School of Education, "Baroque music, such as that composed by Bach, Handel or Telemann, that is 50 to 80 beats per minute creates an atmosphere of focus that leads students into deep concentration in the alpha brain wave state."
Such music is a godsend in terms of help in memorizing important information, including vocabulary, history, and science lessons. Because students learn with a sense of excitement and motivation, information is easier to remember due the emotional factor associated with it.
5 strategies for transforming your classroom with music
Use music to control transitions
The sound of music is a dynamic instrument for controlling transitions in the classroom. For example, use soft background music to greet students entering the classroom in the morning. Such music can put students in a mood receptive for learning.
For transitions, including station switches, specials, lunch and recess, and dismissal, use various levels of upbeat music. Students will begin to anticipate transition time, resulting in smooth mobility and readiness.
Integrate music into lesson plans
Children can learn and memorize information at an accelerated pace when rhythm and learning are combined. I used this technique with multiple subjects, including phonics, vocabulary, science and social studies.
Integrating music with social studies makes learning about people and cultures more interesting and memorable. For example, if you are studying African culture, play music about that culture and allow the students to identify with it. The experience will be unforgettable.
Use music for mental breaks
The constant absorption of information without a mental break can be exhausting. The focus of students can become weak if regular break times are not scheduled.
For break times, many classroom teachers introduce students to music and dance videos such as GO Noodle or I Like to Dance. These videos awaken students out of their monotony and low concentration levels, energizing them and preparing them for learning.
Use music as an incentive
Using music as an incentive is a great strategy for controlling high school classrooms. Many of these students own iPods and cell phones. You can award them minutes for work completed, good behavior or for any outstanding academic milestones. Allowing them to listen to their favorite music is a godsend, an incentive which they will appreciate and look forward to again.
Use a variety of music
As much as possible, use various styles and types of music. The more you implement music into your lesson plans, the more you will see a change in your students. Great music has that type of impact. It reaches deep down into the souls and spirits of the listeners and transforms them.
Therefore, plan for a high level of musical activities throughout a calendar year. Make your classroom a learning environment that students cannot wait to enter.
The impact of music in school is undeniable. Students learn more effectively when the right type of music is integrated into the academic fabric of the school year.