Using Music to Engage Students

MusicLesson LowRes 1024x682 Using Music to Engage StudentsWhen most teachers think of adding a multimedia aspect to their lessons, videos and images come to mind. After all, what better way to help someone understand something than to show it to them? While videos and images are great ways to help students retain information, there is another, often overlooked, form of media that can have an equal impact on your lessons – music.

Music surrounds us in our everyday lives, but we often forget about it when trying to learn something. However, music can provide a variety of benefits to learning including improving recall and retention and reducing the amount of time it takes to learn something. Have you ever noticed how, even after years have passed, you can still remember the lyrics to the songs you learned as a child? This is the music effect.

When listening to music, both the left and right sides of the brain are activated – the music activates the right brain and the words activate the left brain. In this manner, the learning potential is increase exponentially. Additionally, information learned to the tune of a song is more easily recalled at a later date.

For complex material, music provides a way for students to connect with the information. This is why so many children’s shows rely on music (Schoolhouse Rock’s Conjunction, Junction, anyone?). For older students, having them write their own songs set to the music of their favorite song is a great way to make the lesson relevant to them.

A few ways to incorporate more music into the classroom include:

  • History classes: play music from a specific time period or songs about historic events
  • Language classes: play an important song in the target language – have students analyze the meaning
  • Math: have students create songs to help them remember math processes
  • Play classical music in the background during lessons, studies show it helps students focus
  • Make historic events relevant by playing current songs that reference them

What ways have you found to use music in your classroom?

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