Music in classroom?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by katerina03, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Jul 26, 2005

    For you middle and high school teachers, do you play music in the classroom while students take tests or do other work?
    I know as a sub and student teaching I found that some teachers play classical music (turned down very low) and some teachers let pop music play on the radio (to a higher volume). I don't know what I will do when I have my own room. I like the idea of music in the classroom (classical or anything soothing) yet, I know that some students can't focus without silence and other students may find the musis so boring they get drowsy. Heavy Metal is actually my favorite music, but I wouldn't dream of playing that at school.
    Do you let them listen to music and what kind?
     
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  3. sdhudgins

    sdhudgins Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2005

    hehe I'm a music teacher, but I do teach one text based class.
    I let them listen to music during work but not tests. It's just not fair to the students who need the silence to truely concentrate on the tests. They all seem to handle it well for just regular class room work. We listen to a wide variety of music. Classical, rock, country, pop, even some rap. I've even allowed them to bring CD's too, they must be school appropriate of course. I've not had anyone abuse this ..yet ;)
     
  4. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jul 26, 2005

    In one of my Psycch classes in college, we talked about how recall works... so if you're eating an apple while studying, eating an apple during the test iwll help your recall... same thing goes for music... if you listen to a CD whiel sutdying, the same CD will help you during a test... so for the test, several people had asked if they could listen to their Discman while taking the test... they said they did better on that one than on any other. Just some food for thought. ;)
     
  5. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2005

    Cows give more milk when there's music in the barn. Why wouldn't most students do better? And they do, too.

    I do much better when there's music. Silence creeps me out. My students did MUCH better with music. I used to burn my own mixes, for different circumstances.

    If you don't have a stereo in your classroom (GASP) just play a cd through your computer.

    Any students who must have absolute silence will be in the minority. Let them take their test in the hall or in the library. There comes a time when the rights, and what works, for the majority must take precedence. This applies to many aspects, of course.
     
  6. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Jul 27, 2005

    Thanks for your great input! I will definately have music in my classes!!
     
  7. mmeblue

    mmeblue Rookie

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    I definitely wouldn't play it during a test, as I have kids who get distracted enough when the AC turns on or off, and I have kids who are trying to remember rhyming mnemonics they came up with for the information on the test...it would be a hindrance more than a help.

    For independent work, I turn it on once in a blue moon, but I have to be in a tolerant mood when I do so. For some reason, the fact that there is noise being produced by the CD player makes some of my kids think they should produce noise of their own to go along with it. So I generally don't play music unless I'm willing to have them talking a little bit, and I tell them that not working will result in the music being turned off. I'm more likely to play it if they're working on a group project.

    When I do play music, it's usually contemporary Christian music (Christian school). The kids are familiar with it, and there's nothing objectionable in it. I'd probably play classical music if I had any, but I don't.
     
  8. SarahLorax

    SarahLorax Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2005

    a note about allowing students to listen to headphones while taking a test... it's pretty easy for a student nowadays to make a recording of a crib sheet and burn it onto cd or mp3 to listen to...

    i've allowed music in the past, especially if it ties in to some element of the literature we're studying (i.e. playing loreena mckennitt as my students were working on yeats). i'll be teaching 9th and 10th english this year at an inner-city school; i figure i'll try to use music as an incentive--start off with classical and so on, then by the time we get to slam poetry in november i can allow a little hip-hop when they earn it. :) the way i've always done it is that i'll have the cd playing quietly in one corner of the room; i'll set the volume and it's not allowed to be turned up. if i'm near the cd player and can't hear it, the kids are too loud; kids who want quiet can sit farthest from the cd player and shouldn't hear it there. i wouldn't allow it during tests. (although i do remember that my earth science teacher, when i was in school, let us listen to the o.j. simpson verdict during a test once...)
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Hehe... Sarah, I had TOTALLY thought of that when they asked to listen during the test, but, hey, I wasn't in charge!!! :)
     
  10. Mr.G

    Mr.G Rookie

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    Feb 12, 2006

    I know this thread died a while ago, but all I have to say is U2. I play U2 in my social studies class while my students are doing independent work. I find that the music keeps them on task, and by it being U2, if an administrator were to ask why I'm playing music I can say they are a political band and we discuss politics in class.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    For the kid (or, for that matter, anyone) who is distracted by noise in the classroom, what about suggesting earplugs during testing?
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I just can't imagine even taking a test without music in the background. SE might have different problems with it and I can understand that, but the inclusion kids I've had have benefited even more than the regular kids. As for me, I can barely function without music. Why not let the majority rule? And if you've got a kid that is so easily distracted that a little music makes him nuts, I agree with the others about the earplugs. A handful of kids have no right to interfere with something that the majority of kids want and are helped by. That is so grossly unfair that it makes me shake.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I love music, but there are some kinds of music that make me feel very agitated...and I am not necessarily referring to rap or hard rock, etc. Very repetitive sounds for example...so I can see the problem being what works for one person doesn't work for another. I would think light classical would be about the only "fair" choice...and only instrumentals.
     
  14. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I agree Grammy. I could never concentrate when there is noise going on around me, especially voices. I don't think earplugs would have worked for me........they would have irritated me since I have a bad ear that is very sensitive to even the slightest object put into it. I ruptured an eardrum when I was little and it has always caused me problems since. An earplug would hurt my ear.
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I think it's a catch-22. Some kids can't function with music and others can't function without it. It's hard to find a happy medium.
     
  16. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I think music is a very personal thing.
     
  17. wvsasha

    wvsasha Companion

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    Feb 14, 2006

    I let kids use personal players with headphones but i also have my computer playing quiet music for me at my desk. The rule on the headphones is, it has to be quiet enough for me to stand next to you and not be able to hear it.

    And I tell them, if they won't laugh at my music, I won't laugh at theirs. :)

    It works very well especially as I'm the sp.ed. dept. head and I'm *constantly* having people in and out of my room - the headphones allow the kids to tune out the rest of the world and focus better on their independent work.
     
  18. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    wvsasha, I love your idea for use of headphones. I would never force my music on anyone, since music is a very personal choice and makes one's day go better ... or worse if they don't like it.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2006

    kinder, I'm sorry to hear about your ruptured eardrum - that WOULD make earplugs problematic. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you some questions that could help me help others with similar issues. Can you use headphones of any kind, or not? If so, do the headphones have to be the kind that cover your outer ear, or can you manage with earbuds? Would you have problems concentrating on a test if someone were playing music? What about if there was a conversation instead of music? What about if there were the sorts of noises that people can make when they are taking tests?

    Thanks!
     
  20. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Hi TG, I don't like anything placed into my ear. I get shooting pains in it. I can't even lay on my right side at night because it causes sharp pain in my ear. I can wear the headphones that cover the entire ear, as that doesn't seem to bother me too much, but my ear will pop sometimes when I take them off. I had so many ear infections as an infant and child, I believe I must have scar tissue or even bone damage from it. I was never given antibiotics for them, at least I don't recall that I was, and so they often would get so bad, my eardrum would rupture. To this day, I am very sensitive to loud sounds and certain pitches as they tend to cause pain for me. I am very sensitive to voices in a room when it comes to test taking or writing. Music isn't too bad if it is VERY quiet and only of the classical kind. The occasional sneeze, cough, etc. don't bother me. It is more the conversational talking or singing that breaks my concentration. I never associated that with my ear problems though. Just thought it was a concentration problem. Do you think it is related TG?
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Thanks tremendously for your feedback, kinder.

    Hmmm... it's not impossible that there's a connection between your ear problems and sensitivity to voices, though on the other hand we humans are all "wired" to attend to speech-like noises when we hear them.

    I've taught people who are desperately sensitive to all sorts of environmental noise, so I've recommended earplugs for years, and many of these people report that simply HAVING the earplugs and knowing they COULD use them is enough to help them focus. It's also very good to have some ideas for people for whom earplugs simply aren't practical.

    (As to the headphones making your ears pop when you take them off, try slipping your finger between the padding and your head to break the seal before you pull the whole headphone loose. I'm assuming that the kind of headphone that puts any pressure at all on your right ear doesn't work for you, though if it does, you might consider the lightweight headphones (the kind where the phone parts are each about the size of a Snapple cap).)
     
  22. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Feb 14, 2006

    Well, you know TG, as I am telling you all of this, I am thinking of one of my boys. He suffered with ear infections for years, from the time he was an infant until he was seven or eight years old. He went in for the surgery to put tubes in his ears, only to have the doctor tell us his ear canal is so small, he couldn't even see to get the tubes placed. He had only seen that in downs syndrome children and my son does not have downs. He was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder, and then later with a mild form of autism. He cannot stand any loud sounds such as fireworks, fire alarms, etc. He always complains of how they hurt his ears. He cannot stand having any kind of earplug or earbud in his ear either as it hurts. I wonder if he has the same sort of problem I have and it is genetic or if mine is just related to the ear infections. I always thought a lot of his problems stemmed from the ears and how he was hearing or not hearing sounds. He cannot discriminate voices across the room from someone who is right next to him talking. Needless to say, test taking is very difficult for him. I don't know if it is all related to the autism, or something else. It is an interesting topic of discussion.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2006

    Your boy has my sympathy; I find loud noises painful too, and always have. And tiny ear canals... to this day a doctor examining my ears uses a pediatric tip on the otoscope. His ear canals WILL get bigger, but he'll need to learn some coping mechanisms. If he can manage with just a wisp of cotton lightly tucked (not packed) into just the outer ear, that can help damp the noise down more than one might expect, and it's easier on the arms than is resting one's fingers lightly over the opening to the ear canal (which I've been known to do in movie theatres). It's also possible that an earplug intended for a much smaller child might help - I'm thinking of something that wouldn't FILL the ear canals but just rest lightly inside them, and preferably with a string attached so he can retrieve them at will.
     

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