Skip to main content

Teachers: 5 Steps to Maximize the Music in Your Classroom

StudentsWe know that music can:

  1. Relax the mind and lower stress levels.
  2. Stimulate creativity by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain – going from sleepy brain to teachable brain.
  3. Create a clear passage to long-term memory.
  4. Change an individuals’s emotional state.

Well let’s take this information and translate it for the classroom context.  In order to Maximize our Music at school let’s consider 5 Primary Strategies:

1. Assess Preferences

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 100% depends on each persons preference and each persons preference depends on their musical histories, interests, age, ability and personal interests.

The following free handouts will help every teacher, parent or professional to assess their music preferences –  (also a great exercise for jr. and sr. high students):  Assess Your Listening Habits and Identify Your Music Preferences

2. Create the Right Music Toolkit

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 teacher’s 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.

Resources to Help:

3. 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 (1 – 2 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 – like a TV theme song.
4. Use the Power of Silence Strategically

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 also be used to create anticipation for what comes next.

Music uses silence in the same way—to capture your attention, to lure, to grab hold, to hug, to suspend the listener through a silent pause. It ensures you escape from sound, leaving room for an even greater impact the next time. By giving you the space you need, it propagates the energy of the music and leaves you hungry, desiring more.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Consult with an Accredited Music Therapist when you need Support

Music Therapists work with many individuals and groups directly, but many music therapists are also available to consult with allied health professionals and teacher’s on their quest to develop or improve the auditory environment of their students.

For Music Therapists in Canada

For Music Therapists in the US

For Music Therapists around the World

To Purchase our Tune In Book (includes many stories, ideas and strategies for every area of your life

Another Blog That May Be of Interest: Why Teachers Should Use More Music in the Classroom 


Jennifer Buchanan, Music TherapistJennifer Buchanan, BMT, MTA is the happy owner of JB Music Therapy and Author of TUNE IN. Our “Music Speaks” Blog aims to inspire you to use music with greater intention and knowledge, hire us to help, and purchase our products as required.