Sunday, June 21, 2009

Music for the Classroom

In my 0-3 training, my trainer stressed that music should not be used as background ambient sound to be ignored in the classroom. That we should teach children to be aware of, and really listen to music. There should be time for quiet, and time for listening.

In my own classroom I have found that music is an excellent tool to help energize or calm the atmosphere of the group. We played music in the classroom throughout the year. At times it was for ambience, for energizing or calming down, and sometimes for sitting and listening to. We had plenty of silence in our class as well, which in our little school is never absolute quiet but rather the sound of the wind coming through our shutters, birds outside, trees rustling, and of course children sounds.

I love to set up the classroom in the morning with music playing, it helps me feel good as the day begins. And at times when I was feeling tense, playing music influenced my mood.

Some children are more aware of the music than others. I have had spontaneous ballet danced on the rug in front of the player, and on a few occasions, one of the children stopping next to the CD player and saying "Hey! I like this music!".

I am compiling a little music library for our class. In order of frequency played this year, here was our music library:

- Bach, "Goldberg Variations" (our favorite, hands down)

- Bach, Piano pieces (best for calming down)"Bach for Book Lovers", and "Bach for Breakfast" compilations

- Django Reinhart (best for energizing)

- Elizabeth Mitchell, "You Are My Little Bird"

- Mozart, Piano Pieces (compiled by my mom)

- Debussy, "La Mer" and various Piano Pieces(great for quiet listening since it is so evocative)

-Chopin, Piano Pieces (compiled by my mom)

-Mendelsson, the quieter piano pieces

- Buenavista Social Club (super energizing)

(Mostly classical.)

And today I shopped for some more music for next year. I really need to give Bach a rest, and I wanted to introduce some more sounds. Here is what I got:

- Scott Joplin (will be so great for the mornings!)
- Benny Goodman (I love listening to Big Band at lunch)
- Vince Guaraldi, "The Charlie Brown Suite"
- Stars of Mali, (I think African beats will be wonderful to listen to)
- Ladysmith Black Mambazo

I can't wait to be influenced!


Lindart said...

My little classroom is below a much larger classroom, and we can hear them very well, especially in the beginning months when the Pink Tower falls a lot! I started playing classical music during class, and the noise from upstairs virtually disappears. The children who are having snack are often commenting on the music, because they are actually listening to it while they are eating. I would also hear them humming along at times. I don't think they ignored it at all during the work period!
In the new year I started playing opera because the children were interested in hearing what opera sounded like, and they loved it. (I chose Carmen because I love it myself!). In the Spring we started learning about instruments, and during snack the 2 children eating would discuss what instrument they could hear. It was a very good experience, which I will continue next year. I love some of your choices, and would like to try some more active music next year. My choices for the year were: Mozart (a few different CDs), Beethoven, Carmen, and a mixture of composers. I stuck with the same CD for a long time, about 2 months each, the children really got to know the music and who wrote it. I taught them how to turn on the music as well, and whenever the CD came to an end, one of the children would notice and turn it back on again.

P.S. Montessori said...

Oh, I've been working on some "History of.." music cds for music appreciation. I'll be posting in the next few days. You'll have to let me know what you think! My class LOVES the vince guiraldi cd. The Curious George Soundtrack (Jack Johnson) was our favorite for lunch.

Gaijinity said...

We've used to great success the I Am Sam soudtrack. :)