Things to consider when selecting music to play...
  • Is the music familiar to the listeners?
  • Does the tune have an identifiable, acceptable rhythm?
  • Is the music upbeat?
  • Do your students ever get a choice in what music you play?
  • Prior Experience. Have learners had good or bad experiences with music in the classroom or with that particular selection?
  • Are the melody and lyrics easy to remember and fun to hear?

Positive ways music can affect your students...
  • Activates the thinking portion of the brain
  • Livens up a lesson
  • Awakens the brain and body
  • Builds community
  • Calms
  • Changes the mood in the classroom
  • Brings groups together
  • Comforts
  • Embeds learning
  • Energizes
  • Increases attentiveness and concentration
  • Relaxes

Activity: The Freeze (Variation of Follow the Leader)
  • Using energetic music, do something easy and fun such as dance "the swim"
  • Someone pauses the music
  • Choose a new "leader" from the class
  • The music resumes with the chose participant leading the group in another fun activity or dance
  • Repeat

Organizing your music...
  1. Background Music
  2. Movement/Transitions
  3. Relaxation/Calming
  4. Special Effects
  5. Energizers
  6. Thinking Music
  7. Celebration

Background Music...
  • Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart)
  • Breezin' (George Benson)
  • In the Morning Light, Only a Memory (Yanni)
  • Brandenburg Concertos (J.S. Bach)

Movement/Transitions Music...
  • Hit the Road, Jack (Ray Charles)
  • Dancing in the Street (Martha and the Vandellas)
  • Only If... (Enya)
  • Chariots of Fire (Vangelis)
  • William Tell Overture (Rossini)
  • Walk--Don't Run (The Ventures)
  • Linus & Lucy - The Theme from Peanuts (Vince Guaraldi)
  • Oh Yeah! (Yello)
  • Theme from The Pink Panther (Henry Mancini)
  • Theme From Hogan's Heroes (Bob Crane)
  • Sing (The Carpenters)
  • Rock 'n' Roll Music (Chuck Berry)
  • Footloose (Kenny Loggins)

Relaxation/Calming Music...
  • Somewhere in Time (Danny Wright)
  • Moon River (Danny Wright)
  • Jessica's Theme - The Man From Snowy River
  • Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire (David Foster)

Special Effects/Introductions...
  • We Will Rock You (Queen)
  • Theme from Star Wars (John Williams)
  • Theme from Indiana Jones (John Williams)

  • YMCA
  • Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
  • Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
  • Shake It Up (The Cars)
  • Jump (Van Halen)
  • We Got the Beat (Go Go's)
  • Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
  • 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky)

Thinking Music...
  • Claire de Lune (Debussy)
  • Swan Lake: Waltz (Tchaikovsky)
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 (Opus 73) (Beethoven)
  • Blue Danube Waltz (Johann Strauss)
  • Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin)
  • The Entertainer (Scott Joplin)
  • Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos (Mozart)
  • Daphne et Chloe, Suite No. 2 (Ravel)

  • Celebrate (Kool & the Gang)
  • We are the Champions (Queen)
  • Gonna Fly Now (The Theme From Rocky) (Bill Conti and Maynard Ferguson)
  • Stars and Stripes Forever (John Phillips Sousa)

Free Music Downloads

Book: Top Tunes for Teaching by Eric Jensen (ISBN 978-1-8904-6043-3)