I don’t always use music in class…but when I do, this is one way in which I’ve had some success.
In my large activity classes, when we are in tournament play I like to use (or succumb to student pressure) music to pump up the energy in the class – especially with those classes that are early or late in the day. I used to use Pandora radio which creates it’s playlists around one particular artist or genre. Although that created some great playlists inevitably the music wasn’t to the liking of every student, plus I had no control over the content and the occasional non-school-appropriate track resulted in mad dashes over to the iPod to skip a track or two.
So, in an effort to include all students, and pre-screen the music, I now collect a suggested song (or two) from each student to add to a playlist on Spotify. Everyone gets to select their favorite upbeat track and if I play the playlist on shuffle, the chances are that you’ll hear your song at some time over the course of a class or two. Additionally, a particularly popular song by Robin Thicke was soon dropped from one of our class playlists once students felt that the lyrics were inappropriate. One click and it was removed.
Other reasons for liking this way to select music is that it keeps me up to date with who is popular in the music world among my students. Beyonce and Taylor Swift are perennial favorites, while the popular dance acts seem to come and go pretty swiftly. It’s also nice to see those ‘old souls’ in the class that choose an old classic act as their song – Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ have stood the test of time and will be on playlists for the next few years more so than, hopefully, Nicki Minaj’s.
Feel free to check out my Period 1 playlist here.