‘Music helps you to relax and to learn. It soothes you so that you can use your brain and think deep thoughts.’ Paul, age10
‘Music can make me lively!’ Darjit, age 6
Music has been shown in numerous studies around the world to have a remarkable impact upon learning. Studies have shown that music can significantly aid academic performance. Learning to play instruments, to recognize rhythm and to read music has been proved to enhance academic performance. Music can be used for specific purposes, such as Don Campbell describes in his book, ‘The Mozart Effect.’ He tells how children have overcome specific difficulties through practicing reading with a metronome on 60 beats per minute. More relevant, perhaps, to teachers in the classroom, is the fact that music can be used to alter or enhance mood, to demarcate time on task, to energize, to aid relaxation or visualization, or to commit facts to memory.
Nicola recalls vividly her first experiment with music in the classroom. It still sends shivers down her spine! “I taught a nursery class in Inner London. The four-year-olds used to stay for lunch, which we ate together in the nursery, next to the kitchens. After a few days, I hit upon the idea of using music to create a calmer mood. My nursery assistant was keen on the idea, and came into school the next day with a cassette that belonged to her husband. We put the cassette on and watched in amazement as the opening strains of music soothed our normally excitable nursery children. It was wonderful - for about five minutes.
Then the music started to pick up pace and volume. The children became more and more excited, and by the time dessert arrived, they were leaping around in their seats and the chocolate pudding was flying! At that point, the Principal walked in. There I was, in my first week of teaching, almost losing control of twenty four-year-olds. It was horrendous. Fortunately, the Principal was a musician, and supplied me the next day with several more suitable cassettes. I can look back on that incident now and know that at least my instinct was right, music can have an enormous impact upon children’s mood and behavior.”
To help you to avoid making this sort of mistake, in ‘The ALPS Approach,’ Nicola and Alistair list music selections under headings that will enable teachers to make the right choice for each occasion. There are further suggestions in 'The ALPS Approach Resource Book', and here are a few additional suggestions:
To authenticate a mood:
To demarcate time on task:
The following books are recommended for further insight into how music can be used to enhance learning:
To purchase these books, or see further lists of recommended reading, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Nicola J. Call