According to the results of recent researches using music in the educational process not only makes it more lively, enjoyable but stimulate "right" brain learning. Several years ago one research showed that people listening to Mozart scored better on a standard IQ test. Other test showed that rats listening to Mozart run through mazes faster and more accurately. Listening to Mozart also reduces severity of epileptic seizures and Alzheimer's disease.
People often use music to relax after exhausting day, to get rid of stress or to prepare for tests. So it is logically to listen to music in order to make your students study better.
Using famous songs is an efficient method to activate and interest the students. It is a good chance to review vocabulary or learn new words. Generally speaking, entertaining exercises are very helpful as they amuse the students and perform an educational function at the same time. But do not overuse as students being accustomed to entertaining will not be interested in common exercises.
You may turn on the piece of music you associate with certain place or topic, and then let the students guess what the lesson will be about. From the very beginning all the students are involved. Very often manuals teaching English contain addition tapes. They present sound and music accompaniment to each unit. Mixture of different sources in a process of teaching will enrich your teaching methodology and promote students’ memorization.
Grammar exercises will be done successfully with music compositions of Hayden, Mozart, or Bach (music that employs regular periods - repeated phrases and patterns) on the background. This type of music will help to concentrate. Remember your goal is to help and not to distract. Choosing abrasive, disharmonic music will hinder students while their brains try to make sense of the disharmony.
Music stimulates imagination. For example, when your students are to describe their life as young children Ravel's "Mother Goose Suite" playing softly in the background will help them return to those simpler times through its sweet harmonies and simple structures. Listening to Shestokovitch, on the other hand, would only divert their attention.
Different music for different activities:
◊ Grammar - Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi.
◊ Imagination exercises (descriptive writing, speaking) - Ravel, Debussy, Satie.
◊ Current Situation, News in the World - Rap (for inner cities and their problems), Ethnic Music from the discussed countries (you would be surprised how quickly the type of music is associated with a part of the world).
◊ Making Future Plans - Fun upbeat jazz ("Take Five" by Dave Brubeck).
◊ Discussing "Serious" issues - the "serious" Germans: Beethoven, Brahms - even Mahler if you are adventurous!
Use your imagination to organize the lessons and you will be surprised when your students will be using their imagination to improve their English.