The cast of NBC’s Today Show has been sharing their personal playlists on air this week, and I am wondering if some of us non-celebrity teachers should share ours as well. Playing music before and sometimes during class is a way of injecting sensual pleasure into my anatomy and physiology lab that I didn’t even consider for a long time. In fact, I backed into it quite by accident.
Like many people, I prefer to exercise to music. This has led me to learn how to navigate iTunes, an iPod Nano, and various accessories. Once I realized how motivational the right songs can be, I started using the music to help push me through other tasks, including housework and setting up practical stations for exams. I sometimes left my music blaring as I allowed anxious students to enter the lab to begin their exams. I suspected that students would find my mix of Stones, Motown, Celtic, jock rock, and goodness-knows-what-else a little corny, but several of them mentioned on their evaluations of the class that they enjoyed the music and felt that it helped relieve pre-test jitters.
Emboldened by their comments, I devised special playlists for the first day of class. Everyone seemed to feel more comfortable entering a rooomful of strangers with upbeat music pumping in the background. I moved on to playing music while the students performed dissections or set up mock practicals for one another. Students began to share their favorite songs with me and with each other, encouraging the development of a class community.
My vision is to develop a short playlist for each of the topics that we cover in A&P. “Bad to the Bone” might work. “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? “Every Breath You Take (“I’ll Be Watching You”)? This could be fun.
Here’s my current playlist for the first day of class:
- “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones
- “Kernkraft 400 (Sport Chant Stadium Remix) by Zombie Nation
- “Horse Power” by the Chemical Brothers
- “Let’s Work” by Mick Jagger
- “Galvanize” by the Chemical Brothers
Have you tried bringing music into your classroom? If so, please share your playlist! I would welcome any suggestions.
- Back To School Playlist (987ampradio.cbslocal.com)