We can experience music almost everywhere: on the street, at a concert, in our homes, on our phones or radios, in school, and even in classrooms. Regardless of our interests and talents in music, we can all greatly benefit from experiencing music, particularly in the school environment. In fact, did you know that exposure to music can improve learning and increase positive classroom atmosphere (Eerola & Eerola, 2013; Foran, 2009)? During developmental stages, active engagement with music can impact the way that the brain can process information, enhancing the perception of language and speech, and subsequently improving our ability to communicate with others and learn to read (Hallam, 2010). Several studies on the effects of experiencing calm music have suggested that it can reduce aggressive behavior and regulate moods, particularly feelings of anxiety and stress (Ziv & Dolev, 2013; Goldbeck & Ellerkamp, 2012; Saarikallio & Erkkila, 2007). When students are able to manage their emotions in more positive ways, students are able to enhance their learning potential (Foran, 2009).
How can music be used in the classroom?
There are certain techniques and practices that should be considered if one wishes to effectively integrate music into their classroom to create and sustain a positive learning environment. The John Hopkins School of Education provides tips based on the research of how to best use music to enhance learning for students of all ages. Regardless of the number of music integration techniques that are used, if the method is consistent, serves a purpose, and has appropriate tone for the intended environment, it will enhance the learning processes in your school (Brewer, 2012).
While there can be some initial challenges to integrating music into the classroom, there are many benefits that can be gained when music is appropriately used:
- Reduces feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Helps children regulate their emotions.
- Improves concentration and on-task behavior.
- Enhances the way children can process language and speech