Benefits of listening to music in class:
Let’s admit it, I am a terrible singer. I love singing under my shower but I doubt my neighbors appreciate that. Anyway. As a teacher we sometimes have to use our singing skills. Ok well maybe not singing skills but at least our musical skills. So why is music so important in the learning-teaching process? First of all it is enjoyable. Who doesn’t like listening to music once in a while? Second it’s relaxing, energizing and it helps us focus. Last but not least it helps our brain memorise and understand patterns.
How to use music in the classroom :
1. At the beginning of a lesson
I usually play some soft music before students enter the class. By the end of the song they should be ready and on task. This is an easy routine to put in place and it helps students –and teachers to relax and be ready for the next activity. It helps them to make a transition from their previous class to yours.
2. When students are on task
You can also play music while students are working on an activity. Sometimes having some music while reading or writing can help your students concentrate more. However for this you need to know your group well. If music is a good way to focus for some, other may need absolute silence. The best thing to do then is to ask your students what they prefer.
3. Music as a tool for classroom management
Music can be of great help for behavior management as well. In one of my articles I mentioned the use of the Yoga Stretch to start lessons in a smooth and relaxed way. Obviously instrumental music can be used at that time to reinforce the purpose of the Yoga stretch. Your students should feel more relaxed and ready to be on task. Music will help you also with pacing your lessons. Depending on the type of activity you may require soft or punchy music. For example for brainstorming I usually use Gotyie Somebody I use to know because the rhythm sounds like a metronome. For competitive games and especially dictionary contests I sometimes play Mission Impossible to liven the pace. As background music it will all depend on the mood and attitude of my group. If I feel they need to calm down I will probably put some classical music. If on the other I want them to be more energetic I will use a pop song that will wake them up.
4. Music for language teachers
Singing is a natural skill for human beings- well apart from me. From a young age we are surrounded by music and songs. That’s no doubt why young children love chanting and singing songs. On top of its enjoyable feature music is a good way to memorize patterns in sounds. For this reason if you are language teacher any reason is good for you to bring some music to your class. You can expose your students to real authentic language by using this tool and it will increase your students’ awareness of some grammatical structures, vocabulary and pronunciation.