Using Music to Promote Learning

Listening to music has many benefits. It soothes, it excites, and it invokes, and can be used therapeutically as well. So it can be just as beneficial to students. When used to teach, music can aid in memorization, developing patterns that help comprehension of some math concepts, and aid in reading comprehension and fluidity.

Music has many benefits; many of which aid in learning within the classroom. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Oliver)

Promoting learning through the use of music is very beneficial. Using music to promote and facilitate learning can:

  • create a positive learning environment
  • promote appealing surroundings
  • build expectancy and eagerness
  • stimulate and energize various learning activities
  • change states of brain waves
  • focus concentration
  • increase attention
  • improve memory and comprehension
  •  facilitate multisensory learning
  • reduce stress and tension
  •  elicit imagination
  • increase entertainment and fun for students
  • supplement and enhance theme-oriented units

Specific ways that music can augment and help learning in the classroom include:

  • Aiding in the learning of information and new concepts: in active learning experiences, music can be beneficial to the learner by emotionally, mentally, and physically stimulating a student’s mind, thus promoting a relaxed and fun environment where the student is actively engaged in the activity with music as a background. With focus and alpha-state learning, music can aid in emotional, mental, and physical rhythms which create more focus and deeper concentration where larger quantities of information can be taken in and retained. When putting music/rhythm to reading vocabulary, for example, it becomes easier for a student to remember new words by associating them to a beat. This leads into memorization. When studying to music, students are more able to associate terms, concepts, patterns, etc. with a poem, chant, or simple rhyming song that will enable them to be more likely to remember the lessons presented.
  • Creating and maintaining a positive attitude, focused attention, and a comfortable atmosphere are all benefits obtained through the use of music in the classroom. When using music to create a positive learning environment and friendly atmosphere, a positive learning attitude usually follows. Music can create a welcome feeling, enabling students to relax or become motivated to participate in a learning activity. Music in the background can help alleviate stress and reduce tension, motivate and inspire imaginations and energy levels into use, and ultimately help students feel comfortable and at ease when being introduced to new topics. Music also helps bring a class together; student interaction and willingness to participate in groups increases with a comfortable atmosphere created through music.
  • Music is a gateway into the inner self; using music in the classroom can draw out students’ creativity and imagination, promoting positive self-expression. Music used in conjunction with the arts, humanities, and writing can help aid students in discovery of their self-expression, thus promoting more creativity in the classroom. As with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, musical integration can definitely be beneficial with students who are more auditory, rhythmic, and movement intelligent—using music to elicit this kind of participation helps cater to the diversity of students’ intelligences and learning needs.

Not only is utilizing music in the classroom (as the instructor) beneficial to student motivation and participation, some college and high school students benefit from having background music on during study time and when working on assignments and projects. Music is a universal language, and there are many great ways to incorporate music and expression into learning.

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