Why I want a DJ in my class!
I always joke that one day I would like to teach with a resident DJ providing link music to underscore the class. I am not actually joking, as I really would!
As my students I like to use background music to underscore class activities. I believe that it really helps to create a more buoyant atmosphere.
Some background music during tasks not only energizes the class (and me too), but it helps to create a more comfortable and less inhibited environment in which students can try out new vocabulary in role play and discussions.
To my mind, without music the atmosphere can feel a bit inhibited.
I can compare it to the difference in the atmosphere you find when you are in a restaurant that is all quiet and one where there is some background music playing.
For other teachers out there, who may also have limited access to modern technology it's really easy though to act as your own DJ. I just use my phone and a pair of computer speakers. Once could also have a few CD's with appropriate music and sound tracks to use for various activities.
Once I have asked students to go ahead with a task, the first thing I do, and this has now become instinctive, is to reach for my phone to supply appropriate music to underscore the activity.
I hope that many of my students, especially in these recessionary times, will one day have the Celta qualification to teach English in the their back pockets as an alternative way of making an income besides their primary careers. When they do, I also hope that they will also use music while teaching. It really does make for a very receptive atmosphere.
I have several different playlists of songs .
Some are more upbeat for 'cocktail party' sections of the class, where I ask students to stand and circulate and discuss the current topic, just like one would at a cocktail party. ( without the wine of course)
I also have more laid back background music for reading and pair work. I particularly like surf folk rock music.
Please see below some links to a CD that I have been using in the mornings to underscore lessons.
By way of example, the first track below, is the one that I use to play under the first independent task of the day.
It's by former champion surfer and now singer/song-writer Timmy Curran and it's called, 'Daylight's coming!'
Curran's music is very laid back but has a nice surf folk drive to it which makes it perfect to use in class.
Another favourite of mine to use 'Moving on' which has a nice light driving rhythm to it and boosts energy as we move into exercises that we are doing in the last section of the day.
As my students leave my class at the end, I always play an upbeat dance track so as to end the class on a very positive and uplifting note. I joke that it's the type of music that one would hear when a cruise liner sets sail from the port. At the moment we have been singing William Pharrals' Happy which is perfect to close a session on a high note.
There's another blog on how I use Happy and how it helps me to get over feeling a little homesick on sometimes. See the article at http://lawrencehilton.com/3/post/2014/03/brilliant-cape-town-dance-video-happy-homesick1.html
I have always wanted to learn to surf and love music that is inspired by the surfing culture. Below there's a link to another classic surf song by the Beach Boys called 'Good Vibrations' which is what I think music adds to language classes.
For more on Timmy Curran here's a nice article from a surfing magazine at http://www.freaksurfmag.com/interview-with-tim-curran-455.html
Timmy's website can be found at http://www.timmycurran.com/?cat=11
Main pic - rukes.com
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