Musical Experiences – Listening in the Classroom

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.

Inspired by Listening book

For more information about sharing listening experiences with your students, check out this article and this resource book, Inspired by Listening, available in our store.

Subscribe / Share

Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
Elizabeth Peterson tagged this post with: , , , , Read 430 articles by


  1. Thomas J. West says:

    Music listening is great, especially if you can teach the students to be critical listeners. With the pop culture deluge they experience in their life outside of school, very few students today are exposed to music of substance. The gap between music performer and music consumer is growing wider with each passing year. Every music teacher has an obligation to expose students to quality music through recordings and through the students’ own performances. Guest artists to the school are also an extremely powerful way to get kids turned on to great music.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I agree. There is such a disconnect when it comes to performer(s) and listeners. This whole thing about music literacy is important too. We owe it to our children to educate them in how to process all the noise (music and everything else) they intake every day. I’m a firm believer that this can happen in all areas of a child’s day be it music class or not. Music teachers should not stand alone on this.

    Thanks for your comments – I hope you add more to this site!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find arts integration resources in eformat and print in our STORE!

Subscribe to Our Feed

Enter your email address:

Our posts will be automatically delivered to your email by FeedBurner

Want to search by topic or month? Go here for a complete listing of our Tags and Archives!
Teacher Art Retreat 2017 Technology in the Classroom posts
Arts Integration posts
Teacher Art Retreat


Sign up for our Email Newsletter!

* indicates required
Interest Groups
Are you ready for the next Summer Teacher Art Retreat ? Be sure to check out this great PD experience for Creative Teachers!