Set the Tone with a Tune

Set the Tone with a Tune

Your brain is a lean mean music machine!

There are multiple parts of the brain that like to get in on the dance. And the Mighty Amygdala is no wallflower. The amygdala has three layers of cells. The top layer picks up its cue from smells, seeing faces, and sounds - especially the sounds of music, happy music! This feeds directly into our emotional response. 

Music can generate an atmosphere of well-being and positivity. It can calm and relax. It can spark the flow of ideas and creativity. It can focus and target brain waves for concentration. 

Experiencing music together creates a sense of group cohesion.

Music becomes even more uniting when we add collective movement to the rhythm and beat, like snapping fingers, clapping hands, or tapping feet together. Adding movement (TPR - Total Physical Response) also ignites neuroplasticity across the group. 

Bring on the music… but use it intentionally.

Choose the tune to set the tone for the intended goal. 

Select music you want to feed into the culture you're creating. Then put on your dancing shoes and take your amygdala around for a spin!

Try these ideas for incorporating music into your routines:

  • Choose a consistent song to signal transitions
  • Include a school theme song to set the tone with morning announcements 
  • Give students the option to listen with headsets (selecting from songs you've intentionally chosen) during independent activities
  • And, of course…


Chanting in unison has the same effect on the brain, creating a sense of cohesion and lowering the affective filter across your class.  Remember to make it fun, bring your happy face, and get moving as you chant! 

Add some TPR, sketching and images and you have a... 

vocabulary building, 

fluency flowing, 

oxygen generating, 

content comprehension strategy

with brain patterning

and memory retention skills already embedded.

And the best part, you don’t need to be able to carry a tune to pull it off!  

You can find chants everywhere: YouTube, Google, GLAD sites and floating around in your brain. Pull out a tune or song your students are already listening to and insert your own words instead.  

Wherever you find your chant feel free to adapt it to ensure it includes the vocabulary and content your students need to learn. (Cite the original author as well as yourself on the chant.)

December energy makes it a great month to add music and chanting into the classroom.  Go for it!  Sing and chant your way into the holiday…

Fa la la la la-ing with you, 

 Jody and Sara


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