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music in the classroom

7 Creative Strategies for Utilizing Music in the Classroom

You don’t have to be a band teacher to bring a little music into your classroom. In fact, music can serve as a catalyst for learning, engagement, and creativity. By incorporating music into your space or lesson plans, you can tap into the many benefits it offers. We’ll explore seven creative strategies for utilizing music in the classroom, from enhancing memory to promoting relaxation and self-expression. 

1. Music as a Brain Boost

When used as a learning tool, music can enhance the learning process and boost academic performance. If you have brain breaks planned for your students, try making sure there’s a musical element to it.  Harvard studies have shown that music stimulates multiple regions of the brain, including those responsible for memory, attention, and creativity. Students who study while listening to music have lower anxiety and a higher capacity for learning. By integrating music into your classroom, you’re setting those kids up for success. 

2. Musical Learning Environment

It doesn’t matter what subject you teach—there are ways to include the world of music in your classroom design. You could hang posters of famous musicians or sheet music art on the walls. If you play an instrument, why not bring it in and use it in your lesson, or have small instruments that kids can try out themselves?  

Try setting up a dedicated listening corner where students can explore different genres of music during their free time. This option can be especially helpful for neurodivergent students, who could use it as a place to relax when they’re overstimulated. 

3. Music for Memorization

Music is a great addition to a Language Arts room. Take advantage of the rhythmic nature of music to teach vocabulary with catchy songs. Create tunes that incorporate new words, definitions, and examples. Similarly, you can help strengthen math skills through rhythm and beats. Students can learn fractions by clapping or counting to the beat of a song, making learning math more engaging and memorable.

4. Music for Multisensory Learning

Use music to incorporate movement and dance into lessons—a strategy that can strengthen retention. Students can express themselves through dance, interpreting the music they hear. Use songs with clapping patterns that give your lesson a physical element. When learning about different cultures, students can engage in traditional dances accompanied by culturally relevant music. This multisensory experience allows students to connect emotionally with the subject matter and deepen their understanding.

5. Music as Motivation 

Music can serve as a powerful motivational tool. Consider playing upbeat and inspiring music during transition times or before challenging tasks to boost enthusiasm and energy. You could also create playlists tailored to specific activities, like music to play before a big exam or a song to signal the end of the day. 

6. Music for Relaxation and Mindfulness

Music can have a soothing and calming effect., and it’s a powerful tool for coping with anxiety.  Try designating specific times during the day for relaxation exercises, where students can listen to soft instrumental music and practice deep breathing or meditation. The combination of music and mindfulness promotes emotional well-being, stress reduction, and overall mental health.

7. Group Music Projects

Music has a way of bringing people together. It’s a great addition to group projects, too! You could invite students to make a playlist that reflects a book you’ve read in class. Or you could have students re-write holiday songs with science lyrics and go caroling around the school. Assign groups to make a music video representing the module you’re focusing on. Take it a step further by involving students in creating original songs related to the curriculum. This allows them to express themselves while reinforcing their learning.

Hitting the Right Notes

Incorporating music into the classroom can unlock a world of possibilities for educators and students alike. The creative strategies we explored in this article offer a glimpse into the transformative power of music in education. From enhancing memory and engagement to promoting relaxation and self-expression, music has the potential to revolutionize the learning experience. And it doesn’t have to be all Beethoven, either! You can have fun exploring different genres and decades. Let the power of music fill your classroom and leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of your students. 

Written by Rachel Jones
Education World Contributor
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