Kagan Online Magazine

Subscription Info

Subscribe Me
You will receive an e-mail with hot links to the latest Kagan Online Magazine, as well as announcements about upcoming Kagan professional development events and new products.

Subscribe A Friend
Please include your friend's e-mail address when subscribing.

Unsubscribe Me
Remove yourself from Kagan's e-mail list.

Unlock Kagan's Vault
Free Articles
Bookmark and Share

Teacher & Training Tips

The Sound of Music

Daren Harris

To cite this article: Harris, D. The Sound of Music, San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Issue #58. www.KaganOnline.com

Teachers often use music in the classroom to help create an atmosphere that is fun and enjoyable for students. The musical types I have heard range from classical to hip hop to country depending on the teacher and sometimes the requests of the students. To make sure the music you are playing in the classroom is really helping your students perform at their peak, take into consideration the work you have your students performing, and select your music based on the following criteria. Information from brain research tells us which types of music work better for different activities in the classroom and the type depends primarily on two factors: beats per minutes and the presence of vocals.

If we want our students to think creatively or we have them engaged in tasks that require creativity (i.e., creative writing, art projects) music at or near 30 beats a minute with no vocals is ideal. If we want our students to concentrate on solo activities such as a set of math problems or silent reading time, then music at or near 60 beats a minute with no vocals is best. Music at or near 60 beats allows the body to relax and the mind to remain alert which increases concentration and focus. If we want to add energy to the room during tasks like lab prep, gathering materials for a project or when your students enter the room, then music at or near 120 beats a minute plus vocals is perfect. This type of music is also great if we want to use movement activities like Silly Sports, which help to nourish our students’ brains with oxygen and glucose, plus they get to have some fun during the school day. Who doesn’t want to have fun at school?

Music is a great way to add fun into the classroom, and it can be used to maximize student learning—if used the right way. If you love music as much as I do, a day without music is not a day at all. The emergence of streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora makes finding and creating great playlists at each of these beats per minute recommendations easy to do. Use the recommendations above and build yourself a few playlists that you can use to make your classroom a more place “harmonious” to learn.

Related Resource

Music For The Mind™ CDs
Gary Lamb (All Grades)
Compelling brain research concludes music has the power to reduce stress, enhance cognitive functioning, and improve productivity and creativity. The human brain is an amazing instrument that can be tuned to perform optimally with the right kind of music. Music for the Mind™ is a collection of beautifully-orchestrated compositions that resonate with listeners of all levels, enhancing mental performance. Click to Learn More.