Welcome back to the mini-series about a method of integrating music into your classroom – through Active Listening Experiences!  In these four articles, I take you through the basics of how to bring Active Listening Experiences into your classroom.  (And don’t forget to grab the freebies I’m including in each article!)  Here are the great articles you can read in this series:

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This Week’s Freebie: Get Set to Listen



Let’s Hear it for Music!

Teachers continue to be interested in music integration as published studies show the positive effect of music on the mind and articles demonstrate the many benefits to student learning. Studying music is said to be able to raise students’ test scores, improve their grades and make them better people.

Though many teachers see the advantages of integrating music into their classroom curriculums, often they feel intimidated by the complexity of the subject or dismiss the idea believing themselves “non-musical.” Some teachers who do use music may add it to their classrooms in the form of a short, seasonal song or as background music to a fun activity.  Other teachers are starting to see the benefits of using music to Soundtrack their Classrooms, creating meaningful noise that helps students focus on the task at hand, be it a reading assignment, a test or even a teacher-led lesson.

But in this post, I want to focus on a wonderful method of music integration: Active Listening – Listening with Purpose!

We can expand students’ minds through purposeful listening experiences, whether it be jazz, rock or classical. Imagine the possibilities of what students can learn as they listen to the intricacies of the music.

Using Your Brain to Listen Actively to Music

Unlike listening to music passively (with music as the background to another activity) or responsively (when you respond to the music by singing or dancing), actively listening to music engages your brain in a different way.

When you actively listen to music, you are concentrating on the music itself, using both your intellect and emotion to hear what is happening in a piece of music. Sometimes people actively listen when they are trying to learn or understand the lyrics of a song. At other times, active listeners want to study the melody of a song, so that they can play it on an instrument. Often when people actively listen to music, they will imagine stories that are happening inside the music or even relate the music to their own lives.

Many people have the opportunity to listen passively and responsively, but not actively. Listening to music for music’s sake is an untapped resource for teachers of varying curriculums. The best part about actively listening to music in the classroom is that you can then expand upon these listening experiences. Listening in a classroom then becomes much more than a music appreciation approach, it be comes an exciting experience from which to explore the possibilities.

Getting Your Students to Listen Actively

This article’s freebie is all about how to get your classroom ready for some great Active Listening experiences.  Be sure to download your guide here:

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This Week’s Freebie: Get Set to Listen



Once your students have listened to a piece of music, allow them time to tell what they thought of it, whether it be a musical observation or a personal one. Then listen again and again at various times during a given week. Each time you listen to a piece of music, you will hear new things.


Challenge your students to discover surprises. Asking open-ended questions between the times you listen is the best way to get students thinking and talking about the music.  Here are some example questions to get you started:

  • Why did you like/not like the music?
  • What made the music pleasing? Why?
  • What do you picture/imagine when the music is playing? Why?
  • How did you feel when the music was playing? Why?
  • What could have been the composer’s thoughts when he/she wrote this?
  • Why do you think this piece was written?


A Method of Music Integration

Active listening time is similar to taking students on a field trip. You give them experiences outside the regular “norm” and build upon those experiences. Listening to music in your classroom is like taking a short field trip and when you “get back” you are able to use these experiences to enhance your curriculum, especially in the language arts. You can do something as simple as journal writing in response to your class discussions or as complex as write a story using the music as an inspirational springboard. Here are some other ideas:


In the next post in this series, we will look at how to integrate these listening experiences into other content areas!  For now, don’t forget to download your freebie and get started on bringing music into your classroom!

Let’s get to the freebie!

This article’s freebie is a must have if you are interested in Actively Listening to music with your students.  This “Get Set to Listen” guide will take you step by step through the decisions you need to make to, well, get set to listen in your classroom!  Go get it!

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This Week’s Freebie: Get Set to Listen



Want more? Ok!

If you want to learn SO much more about Active Listening and how to bring these experiences into your classroom, you are in luck!  My book, Inspired by Listening is a complete and comprehensive guide to how to introduce, use and integrate Active Listening experiences into your classroom.

And you are reading this at the perfect time because I just came out with a video series where I take you step-by-step through the entire book so that you can implement the strategies confidently.  It’s like you are taking a workshop with me!

If you would like more information, visit www.theinspiredclassroom.com/IBL