Learning Through Music

Shantala Muruganujan, Staff Writer

Teachers have long used music to learn new concepts, to have students reteach ideas or just for ambiance.

Teaching new concepts
“I say mi, you say tu. His, her, your, their all means su. One more to say, here we go! The word for our is nuestro,” sings World Language teacher Diane McKinnon to the tune of Barney’s theme song to teach her students possessive adjectives. MacKinnon said that she uses music often in her 20 years of teaching.

Parody music videos
Math teacher Michele Correll said that she finds it useful to teach students formulas and new concepts through catchy songs. To teach students how to solve for angles, she plays the YouTube video
“Gettin’ Triggy With It,” a parody of actor Will Smith’s hit “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” The parody song shows students how to solve for theta, how to solve for an angle, and how to solve for x.

Background music
Correll said that instrumental music is oftenhelpful as students learn math. “Lyrics sometimes stop your brain because you’re trying to think of the words,” Correll said.
“Whereas instrumental music, you can think about math.” Many studies back this, showing that music reduces one’s anxiety.

Reteaching concepts
The best way to learn is to reteach. Teachers have often assigned music video projects for students. Here’s a parody song sung to the tune of the Village People’s “YMCA.”

“Young man/There’s no need to fear Calc

I said young man/Grab your notebooks and pens

Log into your Desmos account…”