Monday, August 10, 2009

Using Music on the Web

I visited the Incompetech web site and easily downloaded music to my hard drive. Students can use music in their presentations or role plays they do in class. If they were creating a PowerPoint slide show on the topic of space a mysterious dark piece of music may be appropriate to add to the presentation for additional effect. The slide show may begin with a variety of scrolling images to engage the class from the beginning. The music and the images together portrays an inspirational interpretation on a particular topic. A global warming presentation may seem more relevant and realistic if they can be inspired or effected in someway through the power of music. Music is something we can all relate to. We don't have to know how to play, read or write it but we can be entertained by it.

If a class was doing a unit of work on bush rangers they could demonstrate through a role play the actions and consequences of the Ned Kelly gang. It would involve the class separating into groups to depict different characters and stages of Ned Kelly's life. It would involve the student's beginning from scratch, they would have to write a script and act out the portrayal. Including music which is(and music which is safe under the copy right laws) dramatic, emotional or mysterious will add to the story line to portray a particular scene. The students are involved in a project which is their own, they are making all the choices and they are working and presenting it collaboratively as a whole class. Oliver's (1999) Learning Design framework can be a guide for an activity like this. The framework has three main elements, the task that being the role play and the resources the students have worked with and the support provided to assist learners to engage with the tasks and resources. The role play must come at the end of the unit of work, perhaps after they have spent many lessons researching and completing a range of tasks across all key learning areas then they can conclude with a role play presentation at a parents culminating day. Music is a powerful tool for our personal expression within our daily lives-- it helps "set the scene" for many important experiences (Brewer, 1995).

I believe the early childhood years of schooling has much more scope for using music in the class room. You only have to look at the television programs aimed at this age level and the songs and music used to aid in the development of younger ones. There is a song to remember the alphabet, the seasons, the oceans, numbers....the list goes on. Songs, chants, poems, and raps will improve memory of content facts and details through rhyme, rhythm, and melody. Teaching these to students or having them write their own is a terrific memory tool! (Brewer, 1995)

Downloading particular music to use as background noise in the class room can be beneficial to students learning. Levy (n.d)states some amount of background music may in fact be helpful in the learning process, both in a structured school setting and under self-directed homework conditions.
Brewer (1995) says playing music as students enter the classroom or as they leave for recess or lunch totally changes the atmosphere. Depending on the music, you can enliven, calm, establish a theme or even give students content information with content-songs! Being made aware of the Incometech website provides me with a positive learnig tool to assit in using music in the classroom. I am inspired by the research and positive outcomes that music has on the class room and on the individual student.

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