Music for Student Independence

In the book, Eight Great Ideas, I talk about using songs as cues. TV theme songs, as just one example, can be extremely effective for initiating a procedure or timing a transition. However, music is much more than just a management tool. Playing music for your students can really improve your classroom culture.

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I've been playing music off and on
as my students work on something and cannot believe
the effect it's had: they're calm and quiet.
Talk about music soothing the savage beast.

--Susan S.
high school teacher

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But what kind of music should you play?

Here's some info from the book College Smarts.

For over 30 years, researchers have known that Baroque music (especially slow movements where there are 60 beats per minute), accelerates learning, and enhances both short-term and long-term memory.

What, exactly, are the physiological effects of slow Baroque music on learners? Researchers have found that blood pressure lowers; heartbeat slows to a healthy rhythm; fast, beta brain waves decrease by 6%, while alpha waves of relaxation increase by an average of 6%; the right and left hemispheres of the brain become synchronized. The music produces a powerful form of alert relaxation, a state in which the body functions more efficiently on less energy, making more energy available for the brain.

Some "slow movement" Baroque music:

* Adagio in G Minor for Strings

Bach, J.S.
* Largo from Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056
* Largo from Harpsichord Concerto in C Major, BWV 975
* Air for the G String

* Largo from Concerto No.10 in F Major from Twelve Concerti Grossi, Op. 5

* Largo from Concerto in D Major for Guitar and Strings
* Largo from Concerto in C Major for Mandolin, Strings and Harpsichord
* Largo from "Winter" from The Four Seasons

* Canon in D

The efficacy of baroque music notwithstanding, my thought is that any music is better than no music. (That's assuming, of course, that the music being played is appropriate for students.) But choosing music can sometimes lead to problems, the main one being students complaining about the music being played. Really now, who wants to hear some version of, "I don't like that music. Play something else."

Helpful: The use of an overhead spinner will eliminate most of the complaining. (I say most because some students like to complain just for the sake of complaining.)

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Check out the other links in the nav bar to the right for more suggestions on how you can incorporate music into your own classroom.

And if you come up with any new ideas, let me know. I'll add them to Music Central.


Classroom Alarm
Clock for Mac

Classroom Alarm
Clock for PC

Class Cues
Care Package

Download a Song

Easy Sound System

Free Play Music

Free Play Music
How-to Videos

iTunes Trick

More Music

Music Cue App

Music Playlists

Overhead Spinner

Song Buttons (pptx)

Sound Effects

Sound Project 2014

Test Timers

TV Theme Songs

Wrap Up Song