Why Teachers Use Music In Their Classrooms

I am a teacher. I used to teach secondary maths, sports and art, and I regularly made use of music in my lessons for various reasons and activities. These days, I specialise in elementary school kids, where music makes out an important element of lessons.

Today we’ll take a look at all the reasons why teachers use music in their classrooms and see how we can use this opportunity and maximise this tool to our benefit.

#1 To Enhance Concentration and Workflow

Teachers usually use music in their classrooms to enhance the workflow during working sessions.

I would usually ask my 8-10-year-old students to raise their hands if they have anything against me playing music to them for concentration. If there’s someone that would have difficulty, I would respect that and keep the silence.

If they are keen to have background music, I would play a music type that does not disrupt the brain but creates beta waves at 14hz which keeps one focussed and concentrated.

What has also worked well for me in the past is the sounds of nature, where you have water flowing and birds chirping. It’s a feel-good sound when you like you are in nature.

What To Do When I Still Struggle to Stay Focused and I Need More Silence

For many kids that feel they continue to have concentration issues, I always have a couple of noise-cancelling headphones in class which they love wearing.

It doesn’t only exclude the noise, but also shows the others that they don’t want to be bothered, and that they should respect the working environment.

I have a boy with ADHD using this pair, and a boy with autism using this type. They are generally the same, and they also borrow from each other as well.

These noise-cancelling headphones are a general must for all kids that attend concerts, sports matches and firework displays. It is good to keep it nearby at home as a safe and reachable space.

If you are struggling with ADHD or you might have a child having this stumbling stone, you will find my article helpful about ADHD and Music: A Functioning Relationship. I had an interview with a boy with ADHD and he learned to play an instrument. This improved his concentration and work tempo!

#2 To Meditate

Every morning, before we officially start with our lessons, I offer a quick 2-minute meditation with some motivating and uplifting words.

I ask the kids to sleep and relax without any muscle tension and say some comforting and appreciative words. My goal is for the kids to be calm and confident and not bring the hectic from the outside world to class with them.

Here’s a short example for you. This creates champion kids if we can manage for them to believe what we are telling them, and cut out the negative whispers of self-doubt.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 13.05.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Morning meditation is included in my morning routine with my class. (Photo credit: Canva)

#3 To Enhance Creativity

Especially during art time, I would play beach bar music or rooftop lounge music. This encourages their creativity.

The kids usually think that I am in a very good mood, but I think it’s because the vibe makes them feel like they are on holiday already.

This is useful during afternoon sessions when the kids are engaged with anything creative like art and crafting.

#4 To Dance and Move During Brain Breaks

Just Dance

We love using just dance during our movement breaks. The kids form little teams and dance together in their groups or pairs.

In my class, we have a couple of favourites that I can share:

  • Y.M.C.A. -> This is easy and child friendly. They will quickly form groups of 4.
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz -> Dynamite is unique because there’s a mix of male and female figures taking part.
  • Shakira – Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) -> Waka usually works to get the “too-cool-for-school” boys from their chairs. They can’t miss out on a soccer song, right? Also 4 kids per group here.
  • Timber -> Great for boys and girls. The kids can form pairs, and be mixed for this one.
  • Old Town Road -> Also a song to get the cooler boys raised. I normally praise the girls a little extra here for taking part in a song where there’s only one dancing cowboy. 🙂

Go Noodle

My younger students love dancing to songs from Go Noodle. They also have a variety of non-music activities to take part in with a class reward system when you are enrolled on their website.

As an example, this Banana Banana Meatball Song can get stuck in their heads for the duration of the day. This is also ideal for indoor recess.

Brain breaks are ideal during an extended session. Open up some more windows too. (Photo credit: Canva)

#5 To Create Structure

Instead of telling the kids that it’s time to clean up, I will start playing a song that tells them that I would like them to clean up.

They especially like this, because it’s a practised routine and it gives them a framework of about 3-4 minutes to get cleaned up and ready.

I personally use the song The Eye Of the Tiger, since it has a great hook, and one can almost not help getting up and moving a bit.

In secondary schools, this is also a great way to get the students punctually to their next classes since this is often a grey area. Everyone can hear the music, and when it stops, you should be at your next class.

#6 To Memorise Lesson Content

Using music to learn spelling rules, the ABC or a geographical concept is golden to get the kids to memorise facts.

I remember having this PC game as a child called JumpStart 2nd Grade. At a certain place in the game, they explain what a noun was by singing a song. This song is so catchy and both my sister and I sang this song for years to come (our poor parents).

If you need to ever explain to kids what a noun is, you are welcome. 🙂

#7 To Socially Integrate

I usually have a few kids that go for music lessons and become passionate about their hobby. Often these kids need a chance to prove themselves socially and present their talents to their peers in order to win their respect.

I would encourage these individuals to perform a piece of their music to the rest of the class so that they can gain confidence from these mini-performances. The social-emotional effect this had on the group is magnificent and I often see these kids grow in confidence and also academically.

If you are thinking about letting your child or one of your students learn a musical instrument, I wrote a very helpful case study about 2 kids that went through this process. Maybe this could help you make up your mind.

You can find it here: Do Students Who Play Instruments Do Better in School?

#8 To Inspire

Often, music also has an inspirational message that students can learn from going forward.

We all listen differently to music. For instance, I am more attracted to the instrumental parts and melodies, and other people more to the lyrics.

You should find out about a certain song that attracts your brain in order for you to feel inspired and motivated to take on a certain task.

Some people are inspired to learn an instrument themselves. If this is the case for you, I would really motivate you to do this!

You are never too young or too old.

I wrote an article about The Best Age to Learn an Instrument, that goes into the different advantages and disadvantages each age group has. It will provide you with valuable background information to get started and get the most out of your current state.

If you are just keen to get started, I wrote a post about Comparing Instruments for Kids to Learn: Which Option is the Best? Get the ball rolling and start making some music!

That’s it for now!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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