Music in the classroom I teach English, and I LOVE using music in the classroom. (I use it to teach lit terms, as practice for analyzing poetry, to help students understand the time period in which...


I also love using music. Depending on what text we're reading, I'll play music from the era. I do this sometimes with The Outsiders when I've taught freshmen, since many of them have no cultural context with which to approach the novel. When I teach world literature, I like to find popular music from the author's native country (or the country in which the novel is set). It helps students gain a greater cultural understanding of the text, as well as establishing a historical context.

I also teach in my school's Arts Institute at the sophomore level. Many of these students are in choir or band (or theatre, art, dance, etc.). They often find pieces that remind them of what we're reading, and ask to play them in class. Sometimes, I also work a musical project as a choice for a culminating assignment. I've had students sing, play piano, play guitar, and compose original pieces for the oboe, all relating to the text we're studying.

I myself find it difficult to work without listening to music, and many of my students feel the same. They're not allowed to listen to their own music in class, so occasionally I'll turn on the tunes while they're doing individual or group work. I've had good feedback on The Beatles and some opera pieces I've played for them. This can also work as a reward; if they've grown as a class or behaved particularly well with a sub, I'll play music as they work.

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