There has been positive noise in recent months about teachers using Music Cues to help with classroom management. On my post about Class Routine and a later presentation at GlobalMath, I hear of teachers who are trying out good ideas (which I stole, of course. From Rick Morris).
The sum of all music cues that I use in class changes month to month and year to year. I add new ones to replace those that don’t elicit the response that I want, new ones to replace ones that aren’t relevant anymore (Jonas Brothers), and new ones to replace those that are boring me. They are all in a shared folder here for your downloading convenience.
The Cues I Use
- Music on Pandora (means “Start the Warm-Up”)
- Siren1 (First presenter, come to the front, stop the siren, and present)
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Blues Traveler (share “Good Things” with your neighbor until the song stops)
- Good Love by the Rascals (Take out last night’s Homework)
- Dun-Dun-Dunnnnnn (This is today’s Daily Doozy)
- Bonanza Theme or The Raider’s March by John Williams (Take out your notes and write this down)
- Fireflies Instrumental by Owl City or In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington (Do this practice problem, you may chat with your neighbor if you get stuck, when the song is over, show Mr. Vaudrey)
- Million Dollar Question from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Enter your answer for this problem onto your Responder)
- Final Countdown by Europe (Tackle the Daily Doozy now that you’ve learned the topic this period)
Other Songs and How to Get Them
I paid full price for ONE song in my arsenal, and that’s just because I forgot to search my iTunes to see that I already had it.
Most of the rest I got here. Seriously, check it out. It’s awesome. Tens of thousands of TV themes from the last 50 years, all free to download.
Also, (and, let’s be clear, this is truly thievery) there are dozens of sites that permit you to download an audio track from a YouTube video. I do this only in the case that those first two options don’t work.
Reasoning Behind Music Cues
My psychologist sister uses the term “external locus of control” when we talk about my classroom. It means that I–the teacher–am not the one directing students to do everything. Because it’s exhausting.
You’ve been there, right? Chasing down students, monitoring the behavior of a dozen distractors while a dozen others sit patiently waiting for you to get your act together?
I certainly have been there, and it sucks.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is: I’m not the one directing them to begin.
Instead of, “Mark, please sit down and take out your planner.” I can say, “Anna, what is everyone else doing right now?”
Or even better, “Damien, the song’s over.”
I recommend Music Cues for any teacher who wants to make their voice count in the classroom.
An effective teacher is one who doesn’t say anything that a student (or music) can say.
~Matt “Hip Jams” Vaudrey
1. The app I use, Best Timer, counts down while playing whatever music I want, then plays a sound effect of my choosing when the timer hits 0. I’ve also heard good things about the Seconds App. ↩
2. I know. I’m citing and quoting myself in my own writing. I feel like an educational psychologist. Zing! ↩