Here is what we know music can do for students – and all of us really:
- Relax the mind and lower stress levels
- Stimulate creativity by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain
- Create a clear passage to long-term memory
- Change an individual’s emotional state
Let’s take this information and translate it for the classroom context. In order to maximize our music at school we suggest you consider:
- The music we use, and how we respond to the music in our life is unique to everyone regardless of our age, ability or affluence. It absolutely depends on each person’s preference and each person’s preference depends on their musical histories, interests, age, ability and personal interests.
- Classrooms may receive budgets to purchase new music-based resources; however they often do not get a budget to research what resources (and perhaps training) would be best for their specific needs. All classrooms are unique and all teachers’ skill sets are unique. It is important to purchase resources that will be used on a regular basis and support your desired learning goals. Before spending too much money (instruments are expensive) speak to a music specialist and ensure you are getting the best for you and your school.
- Do not have music playing all day. Use music intentionally at specific times of day. Select quiet, organizing music to use in the background as children enter the classroom. This creates a non-verbal message of intention to become more quiet and organized for the school day. Select short pieces of songs (one to two minutes) to indicate what is next: reading time, lunch, getting ready for gym. The teacher may have to say (for the first few days) what activity they are getting ready but afterwards the music with speak to the students and inform them what’s next, just like a TV theme song.
- And finally, remember silence provides a pocket of space in which the sound just heard can be processed and consciously responded to. It is the listener’s opportunity to react and give something in return. Silence can often be the reboot our brain needs to prepare for the next thing.
This is one of ten strategies found in Part IV of TUNE IN