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Playing music while children work

So, what do we actually know?


2 comments on “Playing music while children work

  1. This is anecdotal from my experience. I used to play music when asking children to write for extended periods of time – i.e. 20 minutes or more. But to start with it was purely for behavioural purposes – when the music plays you cannot talk anymore, you cannot get up to sharpen your pencil/go to the toilet etc. In essence it was a way to “train” children in the rules of taking tests without saying “we are in a test” to a class of Year 3s. If they got noisy I stopped the music, they would immediately settle again and I would put the music back on. This stopped me having to say anything to those children being noisy/fidgetting so stopped me breaking concentration/creativity for those who were still on task.

    At least that’s what I thought and why I liked using it.

    Because of doing that, along the way, children would ask to have the music on at other times. If they asked I would take a vote and there was always a majority vote. However maybe this was a comfort zone rather than anything more deep than that. They also knew that if the music on noone would talk and they usually asked for it at times when they were worn out – end of term/Friday afternoon etc – and just wanted to chill out for a bit.

    So I have read no research, am afraid, it was just something I did as a way to calm my first class as an NQT and as it worked so well I used it with all my classes since. Not because I think the music does anything, per se, but it was an organisation tool for me.

  2. Claire Lotriet
    July 21, 2012

    In ‘Essential Motivation in the Classroom’, Ian Gilbert states that music is a powerful ally in the classroom for many reasons from getting learners in the ‘right state for learning’ to helping with motivation.

    Most interestingly, he cites some research done in the 1960s by Dr Georgi Lozanov, which showed that playing Baroque Largos helps us into the alpha brainwave configuration, which is apparently ideal for learning. This basically means relaxed but awake. He then shares some personal stories of when playing such music has changed the energy levels and focus of classes he has been working with.

    Gilbert does suggest that music is not needed all the time, but used in a balanced and professional way can have many benefits. I’m very keen to now buy a Baroque Largos myself…

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2012 by .
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