Tips for using music in the classroom
By Zoe Barry, Teaching Artist
There are many reasons to bring music into the classroom. Music builds listening and analysis skills, engages students’ imaginations and changes the mood of the classroom. Music can create a springboard for learning and it is a wonderful way to strengthen relationships with students by sharing your connection with music.
- Make sure you have a laptop, tablet, stereo or other device that plays music, and a set of speakers.
- Bring in a favourite piece of music you would like play for the class and discuss why you like the piece.
- Set the scene – make sure the students are comfortable and ready to listen.
- Direct their listening – what instruments are playing, when do they come in and out?
- Play ‘air instruments’ along to the piece – students will get a kinaesthetic sense of the piece – it will seem silly at first but do it with real conviction and they will get into it!
- Get students to conduct along to the piece – moving their arms in time, and responding to changes in speed (tempo) and volume (dynamics)
- If it is a song, who do they think is singing it? Why are they singing it? Analyse the lyrics – rhythm, repetition, rhyme, analogy, metaphor… a very strong tie-in with literacy!
- Ask students why they like a piece? Do they have memories associated with it? What era is it from? Does it remind them of other music they have heard? What is the social context of the piece?
- Discussion can develop in many directions, including curriculum themes, creative writing, researching composers and performers, historical eras, students’ cultural backgrounds, celebrations etc.
I love music because it builds connections between people, changes how we feel and what we think about, and provides perspective and optimism – what a gift to share with your students! For more tips on bringing music into the classroom, visit www.songroom.org.au