Learn What Experts Think
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
We encourage you to explore this topic further. Here is a selection of resources about integrating music into the classroom and school community.
- American Music Therapy Association (http://www.musictherapy.org/)
- Edutopia (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-music-strategies-language-arts-classroom-heather-wolpert-gawron)
- Music Bulletin Boards (http://www.musicbulletinboards.net/)
- Music Teachers National Association (http://www.mtna.org/)
- Scholastic Classroom Solution (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/classroom_solutions/2011/01/music-to-manage-your-classroom)
- The Learning Classroom: Feelings Count-Emotions and Learning (http://www.learner.org/courses/learningclassroom/session_overviews/emotion_home5.html)
- The Power of Music (http://www.learner.org/workshops/k5music/introduction-to-el-sistema.html)
Brewer, B.C. (2012). Music and learning: Integrating music in the classroom. Johns Hopkins School of Education. Retrieved from: http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Arts%20in%20Education/brewer.htm
Eerola, P. S., and Eerola, T. (2014). Extended music education enhances the quality of school life. Music Education Research. 16 (1), 88-104.
Foran, L. M. (2009). Listening to music: Helping children regulate their emotions and improve learning in the classroom. Educational Horizons, 88(1) 51-58.
Goldbeck, L., and Ellerkamp, T. (2012) A randomized controlled trial of multimodal music therapy for children with anxiety disorders. Journal of Music Therapy, 49(4), 395-413.
Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education. 28 (3) 269-289.
Saarikallio, S., and Erkkila, J. (2007). The role of music in adolescents’ mood regulation. Psychology of Music. 35 (1), 88-109.
Ziv, N., and Dolev, E. (2013). The effect of background music on bullying: A pilot study. Children & Schools. 35 (2) 83-90.