Music soothes the savage student, not to mention other students and their teacher. My iPhone has synced itself into a mess of contemporary music this year. I don’t even know what I have.
I do know that music works for me, but I also recommend caution to new teachers out there. Letting students go to YouTube can be risky. Often, students don’t even know they are making inappropriate choices. Many are oblivious to curse words and unacceptable topics. Others know full well that f-bombs are about to fall, but they want to see how the teacher reacts.
I duck the content problem through song lists. My students write down songs they would like to hear. I vet the lyrics and listen to samples before I make purchases. (I do buy the songs. Stealing material off the internet would set a poor example.) Sometimes I have to explain why a song did not make it onto the classroom’s latest CD. We can’t play a song about partying and getting wasted, I explain, even if the language is clean. It’s useful to look for videos, too; I never would have bought that song from Shades of Grey if I’d seen the music video first, a mistake on my part, even if the lyrics passed scrutiny.
I’ve written before about the scary quality of some lyrics our children are listening to today, but this post focuses on a different topic. I get great mileage from my CDs.
“If you are quiet and working, I will put on music,” I say. I wait for compliance. Sometimes students help me.
“Be quiet! She won’t put on the music!” They say to classmates.
I strongly recommend music lists.