As long as there has been music, people have moved to it. Many studies, including this article from Human Kinetics, have identified that music can help boost physical performance, as well as lifting moods and even improving sleep quality. So given we know the potential benefits of using music in our class, how can we leverage this knowledge to get the best out of our students?
1. Instant activity with music. Get your class off to a flying start by having music playing when students are arriving to class and have an instant activity set up and ready to go. Music signals to the students that class has begun, and if your students are familiar with instant activities they will pick up some equipment and get active. Perhaps write instructions on the board if students are unsure. For example “grab a hula hoop and be active with a partner until the music stops”.
2. Put the whistle away. Music can be a great way to get the attention of your class. Play music when you want your students to be moving and active, stop the music when you want to talk.
3. Use music to create workouts. A simple fitness based warm up I use with Middle and High school is called the “three song warm up”. The students pick a cardio based exercise such as running, skipping, rower, box jump, stair climbs etc, and do that movement for one song. When the song ends, students move to another piece of equipment. Fast and easy warm up that will have your students warmed up and ready to go for the rest of your class.
4. Student designed playlists. Give each student a lesson where they are responsible for the music being played. Students can use YouTube to create (clean) playlists. If you have time, give students the chance to briefly explain the music they chose which may give you a little insight into each student they you might not have previously experienced.
5. Meditation and reflection. Metacognition and reflection is a tool that is regularly used at my school to help students consolidate their learning. Playing soothing music or sounds and asking students to reflect on your lesson can be a great way to end your class. Ask your students to find a quiet space and lie down on their backs with their eyes closed. When your students are relaxed, ask them questions to prompt their thinking, such as, what is the most important thing you learnt today? Did you help anyone in our class today and how did you do this? Try this YouTube meditation link to get you started.
Further resources to help you use music in your Physed class: