Play that Funky Music

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
your curly-headed DJ, Suzanne

"Miss, this is my jam!"  What a great way to start a class period!  I love music and will be the first to tell you that my taste is eclectic.

Besides being fun for me, music can be an effective tool in the classroom.  I first saw the power of music during a training with Rich Allen.  He is a master at using music to manage transitions.  

In an article, "Music as One of Your Classroom Strategies", Allen gives tips for using music before class, for movement, behind small group discussions, and after class.  

I love for music to spill out into the hallways to greet students as they enter.  It sets the tone for the classroom.  It is way more fun to enter a room that is A. prepared and B. welcoming your arrival.  

Music can also be an effective way to manage transitions and movement. Because you want your kids up and moving, fast paced, energetic music is your best bet for these times.  My favorite song choice for the Musical Shares activity is "I Saw the Sign" (Ace of Base).  My students recognize it because they think it was written for Pitch Perfect.  I sweetly smile and roll my eyes.  

Light background music can be powerful in boosting small group discussions.  I know that my room is packed tight with student groups.  Because of that, it's easy for conversations to bleed into other groups and be distracting.  The music can also bolsters reluctant students.  With light music in the background, there isn't that fear that someone is going to hear (and judge) what I say.  

Having music playing as students gather their things and leave your class is a great way to cement the memory as a positive one and prepares you to welcome your new batch of students. 

Rich Allen has a playlist of music for arrival, departures, birthdays, etc. that you can view here.  

The easiest way for me to incorporate music is with Pandora.  I have theme days and use these Pandora stations:
Mowtown Monday- Mowtown Radio
Tranquil Tuesday- Adele, Ben Rector, James Morrison Radio
Western Wednesday- Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band Radio
Throwback Thursday (Personal Fav)- 80s Cardio Station
Fan Favorite Friday (Top 20)- Today's Hits, Tween, Glee Radio

More Pandora fun: Michael Buble Christmas (Can I get an Amen?!), Jock Jams, Instrumental Hip Hop, Jurassic Park Film Score, Surf Rock, Halloween Party Radio

You can give feedback and it will fine tune your station to reflect more of our likes.  Also, under settings you can select for stations not to allow explicit content.  Warning: that pretty much gets rid of the *F word and not much more.  I'm a serious prude, so I have to do some quick disliking.  Most of the stations above don't have language issues.  

If you want to make your own custom playlists, Grooveshark is a great resource.  

Anytime I need a specific song, I use YouTube and will only play the audio.

What are your favorite Pandora stations/music resources for the classroom?


  1. I would LOVE to use music in my classroom. Any thoughts on other sites to possibly use? My district blocks pandora, grooveshark and I heart radio. Even though many of my colleagues and I have provided ample support for using music in the classroom. Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Man, your district is thorough! That's okay- I'm up for the challenge! Try It is a free music web player and is a mix between Pandora and Grooveshark. My fingers are crossed that we've found something that isn't blocked for you! Happy listening!!