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Students of all ages are notorious for studying with headphones on or while listening to music, television, or other noises. While certain sounds are not conducive to effective study environments, such as television or lyric-heavy music, studies have shown that certain types of music are great for stimulating learning and increasing retention of study materials.
There are a few keys to choosing the best music for use in the classroom or a study session. First, the music should be soothing and relaxing, not loud and aggressive. It should play a role more like white noise than actual entertainment, and it should have very few to no lyrics. The right kinds of music can help students de-stress and relax, allowing their brain to work more effectively at memorizing and understanding information. Music can also improve focus so that students are less distracted by outside stimulants or even their own thoughts, all the while improving their studying endurance.
While science has shown that there can be a positive effect on students’ learning because of music, it can tend to be a distraction for other students. It’s important to understand your students’ needs and learning styles and respond appropriately. It’s also to keep in mind that some music may work well in certain classroom environments while others work better in different situations. Also, keep in mind the task that you are asking your students to do at any given time, and try to match the music to the situation. If they are trying to race through math problems to work on math facts, something more upbeat that keeps them moving might be best. But if there is a great need for close focus and careful attention to detail, something slower, softer, and classical is likely a better option.
If you’re simply looking for some educational tunes to get your youngest students engaged and excited about learning, there are some great playlists out there for you too! Kid-friendly lyrics that teach educational material and fun, easy-to-remember melodies are a great way to get those little minds turning and retaining important information.
Keep in mind that you know your students best, and you need to alter your classroom playlists to the needs of those you teach. Also, remember that not every study session or classwork assignment will or should be accompanied by music. Sometimes, it’s best to let the students work in silence and use some fun “pump up” songs for study breaks. Whether you’re looking for the best classroom music playlists to stimulate learning, to relax your students, or to embark on an intense study session, check out our top choices below.
The Piano Guys
This playlist is made up of several popular songs turned into instrumental piano tracks. Students recognize the melodies which comfort them, but the lack of lyrics and the soothing piano notes allow them to stay focused on the task at hand.
When you need some quiet but upbeat background music, this playlist is the one for you. Especially perfect for younger kids, the songs on this playlist are light, pretty, and fun. They are great for de-stressing and relaxing, and could even be used to help older students with test anxiety or those who have an important paper to write.
Vitamin String Quartet
A super relaxing playlist made up of instrumental versions of popular songs, this playlist is sure to relax your students and help them concentrate more effectively. They’ll enjoy the familiarity of their favorite tunes but won’t get caught up in lyrics, allowing them to embrace the mild music and get their work done. This is a must-have when it comes to the best classroom music playlists.
Mozart for Kids
When you need some calming background noise that helps your students unwind and relax, this playlist should be your first choice. With classical music that is sure to instantly ease any anxiety or stress, your students will love hearing the songs from this playlist before a test, during a study session, or even during a classwork assignment.
Secret Agent 23 Skiddoo
When you need to get your younger students pumped up about learning, this playlist should be your go-to. It’s made up of songs from a kid-friendly rap group that has appropriate songs with strong beats, which all students are sure to enjoy. Depending on your students’ learning styles and personalities, this may be one of the best music playlists that stimulate learning.
Children’s Songs (Christopher Bartlett)
With over 200 songs that kids adore, this playlist is available on Spotify and was made by a reader of the incredibly popular WeAreTeachers. Some songs have educational material that seeks to teach kids something about a particular subject, and some are just fun and playful tunes to enjoy during a study break or relaxing day in the classroom. This should be on your list of the best music playlists to teach with.
They Might Be Giants
This popular band has a ton of hits, especially in the eyes of young students. Students are sure to enjoy singing along to their favorite songs and learning new ones. You can pair several of the songs from this classroom playlist to the concepts you’re teaching in class, as they have songs about a number of topics ranging from planets to adding to letter sounds.
Hip-Hopscotch & Reggae Recess
Another classroom playlist with some sick beats, the songs found here will keep you moving and grooving for days on end as these songs replay in your head over and over. The playlist includes age-appropriate and child-friendly hip hop and reggae songs that will encourage movement and engagement in your classroom. The songs here fall into the category of the best music playlists to teach with.
The Raging Idiots
This playlist is made up of some awesome kids’ songs that educate and encourage young students. Songs are playful and often funny, and they will leave your students singing them long after the music has turned off.
This Spotify-created playlist is primarily meant for older students who need to stay alert and focused on their studying for a prolonged period of time. It includes a lot of classical music, but the tunes are upbeat and varied, meaning students won’t doze off or get distracted by an out-of-place ballad. Due to the nature of the music, this is likely one of the best music playlists that stimulate learning for older students.
Superior Study Playlist
With over 900 songs, this instrumental-only playlist features modern-day songs that help students concentrate on the tasks and studying they’re doing. It has a lot of songs from popular movies as well as other instrumental tracks from popular artists of today.
This instrumental playlist includes music from guitarists who will blow your mind and inspire you in the best ways possible. There are no lyrics and the guitar playing is unreal, meaning your students can appreciate artistic talent while staying focused on their work. This is among the top choices for the best classroom music playlists.
EDM Study No Lyrics
Electronic dance music isn’t for everyone, but it has its place as a popular studying tool, especially for older students. This upbeat and ear-catching music will keep your brain and body bouncing along with the songs, allowing students’ minds to prioritize studying and intensely absorb the information.
Film Score Radio
Think about all the intense and subtle music that plays in the background of your favorite movies, often without you being consciously aware of it. That’s what this playlist is made up of. Popular songs from favorite movies are completely instrumental, and many rise and fall in intensity, making them a good option for studying games or classwork challenges.