This week’s topic by the Sharing is Caring Elite Blogger Cooperative is incorporating music in the classroom…. a favorite activity of mine. 🙂
There are lots of ways to incorporate music in the classroom, and it can be an amazing educational tool, or behavior management tool you can use during the day. The best part is that in order to give your students the benefits of music int he classroom, you don’t even have to be any good at music yourself, in fact sometimes it even helps if you are not that great at music. (Full disclosure though, I am actually quite good at singing, and raised money for my 2001 missions trip to India by playing my guitar and singing at big tent revivals and small town churches all around North Carolina…. it was life time ago, but yes I can sing.)
The research on the positive effects of music on learning is extensive.
Research done by Frances Rauscher in 1994 showed a causal relationship between Music and spatial reasoning.
pilot study of1993 which suggested that music training of three-year-olds provides long-term enhancements of nonverbal cognitive abilities already present at significant levels in infants
~Raucher et al 1994
Research by Lisa Lee, Shu-Chuan Lin published in 2015 showed an increased learning of a foreign language when music was used as a teaching tool.
The study applied the thematic music elements to the teaching content. The results were the following: 1) Based on the comparison of pre- and post-test and observation forms, the quantitative scores for the participants were clearly enhanced; 2) Based on the observation forms, teacher’s observation and parental reports, the use of the music, musical instruments and supplemental materials for the participants’ foreign language, English learning were developed.
Recent advances in the study of the brain have enhanced our understanding of the way that active engagement with music may influence other activities. The cerebral cortex self- organises as we engage with different musical activities, skills in these areas may then transfer to other activities if the processes involved are similar. Some skills transfer automatically without our conscious awareness, others require reflection on how they might be utilised in a new situation.
There are mountains of research not the topic of music in education all pointing to the fact that music is an incredibly powerful teaching tool. The only question become how do we incorporate and maximize it’s impact in our classrooms even if we ourselves are not musically inclined? I have a few tips to share with you today, because while yes, I do happen to be musically inclined, I abhor whipping out my guitar in class. It is big and way too tempting to touch and play with when we need to be doing something else. All of my strategies for you can be done with no musical skill of your own I promise!
1) Be willing to invest some money in a great CD. There are loads of amazing resources put out there to help teachers teach using music. Since I teach younger students I am partial to Dr. Jean and Edutunes. Both artists have a wide range of instructional music CDs, printable, and even videos. Check You Tube for Dr. Jean and you can find this video (my favorite for inside recess in kindergarten not to mention morning meeting, skill review, Mrs. Carr doesn’t feel great days…. any excuse really.) Oh and by the way – tell me you can’t sing at least as well as that 🙂
Or Search YouTube for Edutunes and you can find sample videos of music with Mrs. Jenny. (She even has a Teachers Pay Teachers shop where you can buy all her music plus accompanying teacher resources.) My 5 year old’s favorite is this one below, he would be content to listen to it literally all day long, and after listening to it he can’t stop pointing ou all the magic e’s he can find in the world around him. 🙂
You don’t have to look to far to find music to go with your science, social studies, math, phonics, and literacy lessons. A great song works well as an intro to a unit, warm up for the day, or review before a test. If you have a teacher blog you maintain for parent communication you can provide links to songs (when allowed by copyright) that parents can listen to or practice at home. I have even included links to their stores in the past. You will be surprised how many parents are willing to buy a good educational CD for their child. It is a way to learn on long car trips, waiting in line with headphones, or playing games like musical chairs on a rainy summer day.
2) Music is a great tool for classroom transitions. I personally use a chime like the one pictured above, and my students learn rather quickly that 1 ding means eyes on the teacher, and ringing all 3 chimes means time to transition. It is a soft way to signal, and my students who are sensitive to auditory stimulation seems to actually enjoy this signal system. My son’s 1st grade teacher had a great alternative to my slightly expensive chime, she hung standard wind chimes from the bottom of her classroom tv and would shake them to get students attention in the same way.
3) Give students opportunities to freely choose to listen tot he learning songs. Inside recess is a great time. My students are particularly fond of excercizing with Dr. Jean. Another great time is listening centers. Who said listening center has to be a book? I love putting on one of Edutunes’ Phonics CDS and having students follow along with a copy of the text. They color the pictures while they listen, highlight words that highlight the phonics rule (magic e words for example) and complete activities related to the skill covered in the song they are listening to. The children enjoy it and they are learning. In fact the research says it may be one of the best teaching tools you employ all year!
You can do this!
Interested in reading more about the research behind music in education? Check out the Journal of Research in Music Education, and don’t forget to follow the blog hop below for more tips of incorporating music in the classroom.