Music reflects and influences our mindsets and moods. Favorite playlists reveal our uniquely personal preferences. While we recognize music’s power, we have somehow grossly underestimated its impact on our children’s overall learning, behavior, and well-being.

In the classroom, students enter more quietly when calming music is playing. They stay on task better. While this is the most immediately desirable outcome, there is also a positive correlation between certain kinds of music and brain development. Music promotes focused concentration, which builds confidence and improves performance. In other words, music soothes the savage beast.

As a young teacher, I used classical music to create a calm learning environment for my students. As a young mom, I used classical music to calm my little ones. Selecting the right composers for this purpose is important. For example, classical composers such as Mozart, Debussy, Brahms, and Bach are good choices for quiet times. On the other hand, Beethoven’s often dramatic dirges might be better saved for times of active listening or movement.

You can search and create playlists on your favorite streaming service according to your needs. For example, make one playlist for quiet learning times and another for active times. Naturally incorporating a variety of instrumental styles into your day is a great way for both you and your children to expand your musical knowledge and appreciation. It is best if you have a commercial-free streaming service for this. The interruptions of commercials are distracting and will become counter-productive.

To incorporate music in the classroom:

  • Play calming music when students enter.
  • Play music during quiet work times and tests.
  • Play music during certain instructional times.
  • Play music during breaks to wiggle or stretch – this is a great time for more dramatic playlists. The children can match their movements to the movement of the music.

To incorporate music in the home:

  • Play calming music when your children wake up in the morning. This can help soothe the morning crankies.
  • Play music during schoolwork times.
  • Play music during playtime. Make selections accordingly: calming for puzzles, coloring, or playdoh and dramatic/energetic for active, creative play.
  • Play music in the evening before bedtime.
  • Play music in your children’s bedrooms as they fall asleep. If you live in a small house, like we do, this also helps create “white noise” for the kids until Mom and Dad go to bed.

Music is a simple, therapeutic addition to each day. There may be certain times when children feel that they cannot concentrate while even quiet music is playing. Experiment with what best fits the unique needs of your unique learners. In the process, you will find that music soothes your savage beast, too!