Creating a welcoming classroom environment is an aspect of teaching that many educators agonize over. The demands of a practical space that is also aesthetically pleasing tends to create frustration in even the most seasoned professionals.
Luckily, through trial and error and 'living in the space' a while we master this challenge. We find the right balance for a specific group of children as they maneuver their way around art materials, classroom libraries, storage units, book bins, blocks, computers and various centers. With so much focus on the physical environment we often overlook the importance of setting the tone in auditory terms.
Although many of the children I teach are Deaf or hard-of-hearing I do think it is worthwhile to invest some energy into finding soothing background music to help set the energy in the class. The music is not on constantly but when I do play it, very quietly, it appears to affect the mood of the children. Every so often there will emerge a tinkling piano or a deep bass note, barely audible but lingering in the subconscious to edify the learning.
At the moment I have three favorite CDs that I recommend to anyone who may want to give it a shot.
Visual: An Ambient Experience by Oystein Sevag & Lakki Patey
I was first introduced to this by my friend Mark who recommended that I listen to it as a companion piece while reading Smilla's Sense of Snow.
It has been part of my teaching life for several years now and I never
get tired of its soothing, hypnotic tones.
Buddhattitude: Freedom from George V Records
Any of the Buddha Bar music would be a good choice but this is my favorite. It does not demand attention as it gently allows your mind to soar. A wonderful mix of sounds to provide the right atmosphere and wonderfully conducive to learning.
Pachelbel Canon and Other Baroque Hits by Tomaso Albinoni, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Jean-Joseph Mouret, and Johann Pachelbel
Classical music is always a good choice and this blend of music hits the spot. Ever notice that the action in cartoons is accompanied by the classics? This is a great way to exposure children to the classics before they realize they are too cool to like it.