Using visualization strategies while listening to music is very beneficial to students as they read and write.  When students close their eyes, they can then describe what they imagine when they listen to music. These experiences can be used to draw their attention to how visualization with music parallels with reading.  Some students may see abstract lines and colors, they may see a story unfold, or they may visualize the video that goes with that particular song.  Because visualization is a huge key to comprehension, practicing this skill with music can be very beneficial.

Music is not visual to begin with, unlike reading words on a page.  Therefore, it is easier to bring this abstract concept to students’ attention through music.  I think that’s what helped one of my students.  It had been unclear if “Sarah” was visualizing what she read.  Her comprehension was low and her written output was weak.  In class, during our Active Listening snack time, she would listen to the music and produce good insights to what was going on musically.  But more impressively, she was able to verbally express the images that she saw in her head.  In fact, she was one of the best visualizers in the class.  (Maybe because the words weren’t getting in her way?)  It was with that knowledge that I could assure Sarah’s parents and other support teachers that she was capable of visualization and was understanding what it meant to “see the story” in your head.

Drawing those parallels between the listening and reading strategy was very helpful.  I was able to remind Sarah how she used visualization with the music and that prompted her to discuss what she was seeing as she read.  Slowly but surely I saw her develop her verbalization of what she visualized as she read.

Think about how you can use the power of music visualization in your classroom.


Check out the next post where I share how I use visualization strategies during Active Listening time to help my students with their writing.

Image from

Celebrate Music and Literacy by taking advantage of Elizabeth’s book Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book for integrating musical listening experiences into the classroom.  The book is on sale this month only (March 2011) at 20% off!