Listening to music with your students can be a huge community builder. AND it is something that nearly any teacher can do in his or her classroom. (Even I can do it working in an open concept school!)
It’s a simple concept, really: to listen to music each day with your students. It can be ANY music: classical, jazz, rock, music you love! When you take the time to listen to music together as a group many things can happen.
- You share an experience together.
- You can discuss your opinions about the music.
- You can share your interpretations of the music.
- It can open students eyes to how we are different. (And that’s ok!)
- You can move together.
- You can make memories together.
- It can open the door for great discussions.
My class listens to music every day during snack time since that is a time we have consistently each day. After we listen, we discuss our ideas, thoughts and interpretations of the music.
If any of your students are hard of hearing, invite them to put their hands on the speakers you are using. The vibrations will stimulate their senses in a similar way that the music stimulates our ears.
The kids get so much out of this! Not only do they enjoy taking a break from the norm and simply listening to music, but they love having the opportunity to share their own opinions about something and having it be accepted as valid. It’s not that this can’t happen in at other times, but when we take time especially for it, it becomes a special part of the day (for my students AND for me).
Just the other day, we were listening to music by Chopin and when asked what they thought of as they listened, student had so many different interpretations. One student though the piece sounded sad, while another thought it represented love, and still another thought it was joy. They all thought this about the same piece. And when they heard the opinions of others in the class, it was obvious that some of the students were in the midst of an “a-ha” moment: “People really CAN have different opinions about the same thing.” It led itself perfectly to a small discussion about different people’s perspective and how our opinions can be shaped by who we are and the experiences we have had.
This type of learning is so vital to our education and it helps to build community as it allows students see and accept people’s differences.
Listening to music with your class is simple and takes little prep work. Do it a few times a year or every day. You will surely build community in your class if you do.