Q: Is it okay to play music in class sometimes, and sometimes not? Stella, Birmingham, AL
A: Hey there Stella. Thanks for reaching out. I’m a big music lover, and so it was obvious to me that music would most def be played in my classes. Other teachers are equally as dedicated to the silent atmosphere, so the answer for them is also clear. There needs to be a strong thread of consistency. Students like to know what they can count on certain things from a specific teacher. Some teachers are known for not playing music, and their regular students enjoy that. Other teachers put a ton of energy and thought into their music playlists. The students who enjoy that really connect with what music offers in a class setting.
First, decide which camp you’re in. I’m fairly firmly on team music. My friend Andy King does not play music, nor does he conclude his classes with ‘Namaste’. He’s quickly become a very popular teacher. Consistency is the key.
The exception, in my opinion, is when playing music isn’t an option. Sometimes technical difficulties occur. When I was a very new teacher, I really let that throw me off. But now, I can enjoy and go with it.
If you’re teaching outside, and there is a decent amount of ambient noise, or you don’t have the equipment to offer music, that’s another time when opting out of music is best.
So the bottom line advice is: be consistent but adaptable. If you do choose to offer music, commit to building new playlists semi-frequently, and aim to differentiate your music so it’s not the same shit everyone else is rocking in their classes.