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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you advocate using background music during lessons?

No. The focus of this site is to help teachers actively direct students' attention to
music and song lyrics for their content. I personally find it distracting to have Mozart,
or any other music, playing when I'm trying to study.

Imagine all the thoughts that might already pass through a student's mind while
he or she tries to study in school:

-- Will the kids let me play with them during recess today?
-- I'm tired.
-- The kids will be impressed when they see my cool new shoes.
-- What were Mom and Dad (or Mom and her boyfriend) arguing about last night?
-- I'm hungry.

We want our students to attend to the task at hand -- we don't want to further divert
their attention. When we listen to music, we should have the music be our central focus,
not a peripheral sideshow.

The Gold Rule:
Use music for a purpose, then shut it off!
--Gerard Evanski, Ph.D.

For a different point-of-view, see Chris Boyd Brewer's suggestions for
Using Background Music to Enhance Memory
Background Music to Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

What about the Mozart Effect?

The "Mozart Effect" suggests that students may perform better after listening to
certain compositions. The study of the "Mozart Effect" did not ask children to learn new
material while the music was playing.
Music, like any effective teaching tool, should be used judiciously and skillfully!
Research on the effects of music on learning is intriguing and exciting, but it is still
in its infancy. We look forward to hearing more information on the subject as it becomes available.

How about using music to create a particular mood?

Absolutely! Music is almost magical in its ability to transform a classroom environment.
You may want to use music that complements whatever subject you're about to teach
to set the stage for your lessons.
You can even use music as part of your classroom management strategy. For
example, you may want to play lively music during a transition between activities. Then
let the students know that when you stop the music, it will be time to begin the new
subject.
We've made some song suggestions on our Music for Transitions, State Changes, Energizers, and Classroom Management page.

 

 



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