Name That Tune

musicAs your humble Upper Grades Exchange blog writer and The Mailbox’s Web projects editor, I spend a fair amount of time hunkered down in my bunker office cubicle creativity-inspiring work station listening to music and doing the important work that helps to keep this big wheel turning. In fact, music is a hugely important part of my life and generally helps inspire me and keep the pot o’ words mixed and fresh in my brain box.

Paragraph two (aka the paragraph that talks about my experience “back when I was a teacher”): You can ask any of my former students—especially those who were lucky enough to be in my class after my rookie season—and they’ll tell you that music played a greater and greater role in my lessons. Whether it was using Beatles lyrics, John Cooper Clarke poems, or simply the rhythm of a classic piece of musical artistry, I enjoyed pouring music into the foundation of my language arts classes.

Now, I was never ready or willing to play ukulele for my students. Nor did I dredge up my memories of failed attempts to form a prolific and culture-shattering band in high school. But I have never been afraid to sing a song; tap a beat; or stump for my favorite, unheralded early-1980s Swindon, England, new wave group as heirs to the Fab Four.

There’s a place for music in classrooms beyond the music room. Whether it’s as inspiration, mind-clearing background, or an example of what can be made at the crossroads of the power of words and the uniqueness of human experience, music improves our lives as students and teachers.

Do you use music in your classroom? Share your ideas with us. It’s Friday, so roll down the windows and crank up the tunes.

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