“I’ve found that no matter what life throws at me, music softens the blow.”
During the last sixteen months we have been walking on shaky ground. We have learned how to be more emotionally and organizationally agile by necessity. We have given up the illusion of control over most things, have faced our fears and, at times, the smallest version of ourselves.
Welcome to the preparation for a new school year that is based on healing, humility and compassion, starting with ourselves. As you proactively plan for your inner-stability and the emotional stability of your staff, faculty and students, think about the power of music. Music helps us to feel steady and safe. It provides joy and spirit. Selected music has the power to move us beyond the fear of uncertainty.
Let’s become our largest selves, with a big brass band welcoming our students back to school; with music playing in the hallways during class changes, and as background music in the cafeteria. Systematically raise the metaphysical vibrations of your own energy through the power of music. Find yourself humming, singing and gaining energy to counteract the fear and uncertainty. I have provided links to songs and the words of quotes which will invite you to consider the power of music in your roll-out plans. Use music to embrace this new year with renewed hope and vigor.
If all else fails, listen to the pep talk lyrics of “You Gotta Have Heart”, from the musical Damn Yankees. Below is a sampling of the lyrics or you can listen to the entire song here.
You gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are saying you’ll never win
That’s when the grin should start
You gotta have hope
Mustn’t sit around and mope
Nothing’s half as bad as it may appear
Wait’ll next year and hope
So, let’s become strategic in changing our tune (pun intended) from last year to this one. It is definitely time to embrace “good vibrations”!
At Truesdell Middle School, “The Hustle” by Van McCoy and “I Feel Good” by James Brown can be heard in the halls encouraging students to get to class on time. The theme from Mission Impossible starts playing one minute before classes start to alert students to get moving.
At West Jordan High School in Utah, television theme songs from the 50s and 60s are the musical choices of principal Jennifer Sinclair. Theme songs from Gilligan’s Island to The Andy Griffith Show remind students that classes are starting soon.
Before the morning bell and after lunch, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” can be heard resonating in the halls at Southeast High School Wichita. Faced with a tardiness problem, Principal Leroy Parks chose music to encourage students to get moving and go, go, go to class.
Benefits of Music in Schools
Studies have revealed that listening to music can do much more than encourage students to get to class on time. While there can be some initial challenges to integrating music into schools, studies have revealed that music can have a major impact on students (and teachers!). Playing music in the hallways, between classes, and in the classroom and lunch rooms not only promotes a positive, fun environment, it can benefit students by:
- Adding an element of fun leading to positive mood changes
- Helping children release tension while reducing feelings of anxiety and stress
- Helping motivate them to participate in class
- Giving their brain a break, allowing them to absorb more pieces of information
- Enhancing the way children process language and speech
- Making it easier for children to understand the sound and meanings of new words
Integrating Music in Schools
- Use music to teach young kids lessons or rhymes in a musical way
- Play background music to welcome students as they enter the school
- Play uplifting songs in the halls between classes and after the lunch period
- Play music from a variety of genres in the hallways before first period – especially on late-start Mondays – and after the last period on Fridays
- Place an old piano in the hallway or lobby which can be played whenever a student or teacher is available to play it
According to research by Johns Hopkins School of Education, regardless of the number of music integration techniques used, if the method is consistent, serves a purpose, and has appropriate tone for the intended environment, it will enhance the learning processes in your school (Brewer, 2012).
That’s music to my ears!
5 of My Favorite Songs to Reframe, Heal and Bring Hope for a New School:
- Rise Up, by Audra Day (View)
- The Rising, by Bruce Springsteen (View)
- Little Birds, by Bob Marley (View)
- Oooh Child, by The Five Stairsteps (View)
- I’m Still Standing, by Elton John (View)
BONUS SONG BASED ON INDECISION:
- Coming out of the Dark, by Gloria Estefan (View)
5 of My Favorite Music Quotes for Countering Pandemic Effects:
- “Music brings us pleasure and releases our suffering. It can calm us down and pump us up. It can manage our pain, help us run faster, sleep better and be more productive.”
~Alex Doman, Author of Healing at the Speed of Sound
- “Music has a healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves.”
~ Elton John, Composer and Singer
- “Music brings a warm glow to vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.”
~Haruki Murak, Writer
- “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace and abolishing strife.”
~Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet
- “Music has real health benefits. It boosts dopamine, lowers cortisol and makes us feel great. Your brain is better on music.”
~Alex Doman, Author of Healing at the Speed of Sound