Those of you who visit the Reading Room often comment on the quiet music playing in the background and on the mood it creates for those of us working in the room. Music is funny like that — it sends a subtle, subliminal message about behavior, about stress levels, about emotions and about what’s going on in the room. Imagine if you walked into the Reading Room and heard something like Great Balls of Fire. That would certainly set a different tone, wouldn’t it??
Quite a few of our older students (who have experienced my quiet music in the working environment) will request the music during testing sessions. It breaks the heavy silence — and that seems to break some of the feeling of pressure that kids feel during testing times. It also masks the distractions of the background noises from the hallway and the playground.
Some of you have asked about the music that I play and about how I do it. I am an IPod fanatic. I love being able to carry around a ton of music in a gadget smaller than my cell phone. Mine goes everywhere with me (just ask my husband). It carries books on CD, music for just about any occasion, my French lessons (thank you, Laura) and a bunch of other stuff. I simply connect my Ipod to a docking station in my classroom (a simple gadget you can buy at Marshalls, drugstores, Bed Bath and Beyond, and all sorts of other places. I’ve also done this with a simple CD player and CDs and by inserting the CD into the computer to play. The sound quality isn’t so great through the computer, but it works okay.
The music I generally use is by Tim Janis. He is a New England artist who composes and records his own music. Our own Katie D’Angelo used to play cello with him! You can find his music here (fair warning! the music begins playing as soon as you open the webpage).
I was also intrigued by an article on the Choice Literacy website about music for classrooms and for Literacy Leaders. You can read that article here (assuming it remains in the public section of the website. Otherwise, you’ll need a password to get in) They’ve created an Itunes playlist of all of the music from the article. You can buy the whole set for just under $40 on Itunes. They’ve left you a link at the bottom of the article — or I’ll set you up with a link here.