The art classroom is a space made for creativity, energy and is often one of students’ favorite places to be. Does music belong in the art room space? Is it too distracting? Does it help keep students calm and focused? Can it add to the fun of creating artwork? These are some of the differing opinions on music in the art classroom, but read on and see what benefits it might have.
Is Music Distracting During Art Class?
While studies have not been conclusive, there are many who believe that playing music in the classroom helps students to focus on the task at hand. Some teachers use the music as a way to monitor classroom noise levels, telling students not to reach a volume louder than the background music. Other teachers use certain types of music to alter the mood or vibe in their learning space. Whether that means there’s an improvement to study skills, or simply less chatter between students, the potential benefits might make it worth trying out in your classroom.
There are teachers and students who are on both sides of this debate, so the answer comes down to the individual class of students and art educator. There are some aspects of playing music to consider when making the decision for your art classroom.
- Does the music you chose affect your class of students in a positive way? Some music naturally increases energy and can cause a classroom to feel busy or chaotic, instead of creative and focused.
- Do you have students with special needs who are overwhelmed by music, creating a feeling of sensory overload? Bear this in mind when choosing to play any music.
- Is the music appropriate for the age group? Some songs may be popular or even an old “classic,” but still are full of inappropriate themes or lyrics and should be left out of the classroom.
- Have you asked your students if they would like to listen to music during art class? Sometimes students would prefer a more quiet space. It’s best to ensure that the whole class is on board with playing music, rather than taking a vote, as the music may negatively impact some students, even if they are out-voted.
What Type of Music is Best for Art Classrooms?
If music seems like a good idea in your art classroom, what type of music is best? Some music can positively influence the mood in the classroom, and can actually compliment the artwork being created by students.
This seems to be the most common choice for art teachers, as the music doesn’t have distracting lyrics, and comes in such a wide variety of tones and moods. Classical or instrumental music can be jazzy, new age, old, or contemporary.
This type of “music” may not be music at all, but might influence the mood of the classroom and create a more calm feeling. This might be a recording of birds and a running stream, or even the sound of the ocean waves washing up on a beach.
Pop/Music with Lyrics:
This choice is the least common, as pop music more frequently is distracting, inappropriate, or stressful in nature. Some may choose to allow older students to use their own music player or headphones if they prefer pop music, but most art teachers agree that music without lyrics is the least distracting and the easiest to play for the whole class.
Bluetooth Speakers for Playing Music in the Classroom
If you’re looking for a way to play music in the art room, take a look at some of these Bluetooth speaker or computer speaker options. Playing music from phone speakers can be a thing of the past, and with free online music through Pandora or Spotify, it can be easy to introduce students to a variety of different genres in the art room.