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Music in Schools

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music in schoolsMusic in Schools is a lesson that provides you with the opportunity to explore how music can benefit students in school to improve their creativity. This lesson is centred around the theme of Work and Education from the B2 First curriculum which explores how different societies create roles and opportunities for people to develop their skills and knowledge. In these activities, we will learn the importance of having music lessons in schools.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Word ListExtension
Listen to a student talking about why music in schools is important.

Click here to view transcript and answers


Hey, when I say school what do you think our parents think of backpacks, teachers, grades. People think that the more AP courses you take the more books you read the better you do on tests and assignments the better off you are, but they only see the academic side of school and for us sometimes writing papers and taking tests aren’t what we’re best at.

Through dance music and any other creative outlet, we’re able to express our feelings in a way that may be difficult to write down on paper. In our generation self-expression is crucial I don’t think parents and adults realize how important this is to us. We meet new people make new friends appreciate the time we spend in class because we love what we’re doing and the people were doing it with. We feel a sense of belonging and have a place where we can express ourselves without the fear of being judged but at some schools, money is tight and extracurricular classes aren’t funded the way they should be. And unlike core classes where textbooks and supplies are constantly replaced it’s annoying that music and arts classrooms have to work with the supplies they’ve had for years just because there are no funds.

Without funding for these classes, we are limited in the activities we can do and the things we create through music and arts or what make us who we are. We need to show adults that more money needs to be put towards music and arts because those are the things in school that we truly benefit from.

Listen to a scientist talking about the effect of music on the brain. For question 1-10, complete the sentences with a word or short phrase.

Steven uses the term (1) to describe songs that get stuck in your mind. One of the benefits of music is slowing down the effects of (2) . Steven mentions research that shows music switches on the (3) networks in our brain. He says that Finnish people teach basic (4) to kids from a very early age. Steven claims that students are more able to concentrate on (5) tasks when listening to music.

Listening to lively (6) makes you more positive and motivated, according to Steven. Steven suggests listening to instrumental music when you have to deal with a (7) problem.

For learning (8) skills, you should listen to the same music every time. Steven uses the term (9) to describe listening to music to maintain a positive attitude. Steven is surprised that listening to sad music makes us feel (10) .


Click here to view transcript

Have you ever had a song get stuck in your head? Maybe you hear part of a song in the morning on the radio and your mind is still playing it in the evening? It might not even be a song you particularly like, but it’s very hard to get rid of it. These songs, commonly known as ‘ear worms’ appear in our heads without our trying to learn them. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everything was that easy to learn? Well, it isn’t, but there’s a growing body of evidence showing that music has a tremendous positive effect on our brains. Music stimulates most parts of the brain, improving intelligence and memory and slowing the effects of brain disease.

Take languages, for instance. Studies have shown that music turns on the language-related networks in our brains. In a country like Finland, the average person ends up speaking between three and five different languages fluently. Some claim that the secret to their language learning success is in their music education. They traditionally teach basic music skills to children long before they go to school, and even when they’re still babies. Formal language lessons don’t begin until kids are nine years old, but you would have a hard time finding a Finnish adult who isn’t multilingual.

For students, the effect of music on learning can dramatically affect how well we remember new facts and information and enhance our learning. Certain kinds of music, for instance, can help us improve our concentration when tackling problems. It also encourages the mind to evoke emotions and produce visual images, both of which reinforce memory and learning. It’s been found that students of all ages generally find that music helps them to focus more clearly on learning tasks. But different types of music have different effects, so what you should listen to depends very much on what

you want to do. For instance, listening to lively pop music with lyrics encourages positive thinking and helps your motivation, and raises your energy levels towards the end of the day when you’re feeling more tired. But if you’re tackling technical problems that need a very deep level of concentration, such as writing an essay, then instrumental music is far more effective, particularly classical music. This helps to calm you down and put you in a more reflective mood. Mozart, I find, works particularly well.

If you need to learn something more physical, perhaps a skill in an art class, or for playing a sport, then listening

to the same music every time you have to do that task is very effective. The rhythm or beat of a tune, particularly something loud and upbeat, makes you want to move. These movements quickly become associated with the music, and complicated physical tasks become automatic. While the research isn’t conclusive, listening to music during the day appears to help maintain a positive attitude. This is what we call ‘mood management’. We’ve all experienced how music can change or enhance certain emotions, and research is being done into how music helps in getting over negative feelings such as depression or anxiety. Surprisingly, even sad music can make us feel happier. We seem to identify with the sad feeling, but if we’re feeling sad ourselves, it helps us process and resolve this and puts us in a better mood. Music can be used in different ways – not only for pleasure but also to improve your mind. So turn it up!

Here are keywords and phrases covered in the talk about music in schools:

  • anxiety
  • assignments
  • beat of a tune
  • better off
  • brain disease
  • complicated
  • concentration
  • creative outlet
  • depression
  • ear worms
  • extracurricular classes
  • intelligence
  • language learning
  • lyrics
  • motivation
  • multilingual
  • positive effect
  • reflective mood
  • reinforce memory
  • rhythm
  • self-expression
1. Write an essay about role models. Pop groups are often important role models for teenagers. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? Use these notes: 1 type of music 2 behaviour of celebrities 3 … (your own idea). Write 140-190 words.
2. Write an article about if music is an important subject for students to learn in school.
3. You have recently been to a concert. Write an email to your friend. Describe what it was like and if you enjoyed the experience. Write 140-190 words.

Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.

We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B2 First Exam.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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