Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Soothing Background Music

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.


Bob Dylan said...

I'll have to check these cds out. In the 80's we had Kitaro--I still listen to some of their stuff, very relaxing, but also uplifting.

Joy said...

I know a little song the kiddies would like... Black Hair!

Or, naturally, anything by The Niagaras.

Okay, okay, I can't help myself. So sue me! :)

Gary said...

OH yeah Joy, I am sure Whaley would have a very calming affect on the kiddies.

jay said...

Just came across the blog, the student was touching. I think it's great what you're doing.

Gosh, I'm such a sap.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I liked "Leatherwing Bat" when i was a kid--by Peter Paul and Mary--it was on their children's CD.

Joy said...

Honey, you know the kids (yound and old) love Robert - you can't see The Niagaras and not feel the love. (and yes, there have been little kids there - they LOVE it!)

No. I am not being paid to promote. :)

Robert said...

Can't go wrong with Pachebel's Canon!

Pod said...

have you heard arvo part's 'fur alina'? it's repetitive, but rather other worldly beautiful and very gentle

marxsny said...

Hey, remember that time we went to Buddha Bar in NYC and the doorman talked down to me, those were good times. Perhaps some Brian Eno would serve your purpose? I can suggest, if it is to be.

Gary said...

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.


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