The Little Book of Music for the Classroom

Using music to improve memory, motivation, learning and creativity

By: Nina Jackson


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Products specifications
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Size: 174mm x 124mm
Pages : 160
ISBN : 9781845900915
Format: Hardback
Published: March 2009

If you ever want to start a fight in the staffroom then bring up the question of the use of music in the classroom.

If you want to settle that perennial dispute, then this is the book to do it with.

Nina's groundbreaking research has proven how music can be of direct benefit for learning and motivation in classrooms across the school and this book, simply and effectively, tells you what music to use, when and why. So, put away your whale song CD and your James Last box set and explore how music really can transform your classroom.

Picture for author Nina Jackson

Nina Jackson

Nina Jackson is an international education consultant who has a breathtaking grasp of what makes classrooms, children and their teachers tick. She's a leading practitioner in all areas of teaching and learning with particular expertise in special educational needs, digital technology and mental and emotional health. She has transformed learning and teaching in some of the most challenging schools in the UK as well as working extensively with schools on the international circuit.

An accredited Apple Teacher, winner of the IPDA International Prize for Education and described by the TES as an inspirational, evangelical preacher of education', Nina is a tour-de-force when it comes to enlivening teaching and learning for all.

Nina is one of the happiest, most effervescent personalities in education today and puts her own learning, and the learning of others, at the heart of everything she believes in.

Ninjas and Sherbet Lemons ' Nina Jackson in the Time Out Room ' PP179

Click here to read Nina Jackson’s blog.


  1. “The Little Book of Music for the Classroom” is a comprehensive resource encouraging generalist classroom teachers to use music to assist learning and memory. Various lists of instrumental music are matched to activities -” enhancing fact memorisation, creating a relaxed classroom, motivation to learn, problem solving, etc.
  2. Nina Jackson has created a real gem for teachers and learners everywhere. The Little Book of Music for the Classroom will provide everyone with at least one way to use music in the classroom. The chances are that once you have experimented with a few ideas, you are likely to come back for more. Nina Jackson has blended thorough analysis of current research with her undeniable enthusiasm for using music to aid learning. Her detailed advice for creating the best atmosphere possible for learners is well thought out and clearly presented and readers will definitely feel that they are getting their money's worth! Whilst providing hundreds of musical ideas, Nina Jackson is clear that when creating the right -˜soundscape' we must carefully consider the lyrics, tempo and style of the music and that silence is just as important. Music is such an important part of our lives and this book helps you to bring music into one of the most important places in our lives.
  3. Nina Jackson is an inspirational teacher with a love of music and all that it can do to create a positive learning climate in the classroom. This book will provide teachers with a plethora of ideas for using different types of music to support learning, motive pupils and create a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
  4. I am a great fan of using music for opening up the IQ of the mind/body in learning and will often use it to do the household cleaning or writing an article. It helps one focus in a way that creates results. So the title of this book was intruiging.

    Ians opening story of how parents can sabotage their childrens learning by not understanding the mind/body connection and how we learn is unfortunately a result of an educational system set up to produceworkers in the last 200 years. Academic prowess instead of true learning is thankfully on its way out and whilst there will be the occasional parent who resents their childs enthusiasm for learning through methods other than which they were taught with, despite the results, thankfully more people are beginning to realise we are within a revolution and transformation of the old ways.

    This can only have a positive effect in the years to come as the students move into business and transform the corporate culture into one that is more creative, innovative and pleasant to work in than the current model.

    Nina states that the common theme running through the book issound waves make brain waves and without a doubt music does effect the mind, body and spirit when it comes to learning. The book has been broken into three parts for using music effectively in learning" memory and focus; relaxation and calm; motivation, stimulation and energising. I really enjoyed the simple recipe lists of suggested music and how to set up thesessions using music and whole brain exercises combined. I really enjoyed seeing the suggestions of learning how to count in different languages by using music from other cultures to learn this. Fabulously innovative and also assisting our students to become multi-lingual, a skill that will be highly sought after in business in the years ahead.

    The instructions are clear in terms of what the educator needs to do to prepare their lesson and classroom. The stages are clearly bullet pointed and allow the educator to follow the concept easily. The end of each exercise there is a list of suggested music, which means the exercise can be repeated in several different formats by mixing and matching music for the exercise.

    The quotes by other inspirational poets, educators or musicians is a wonderful way to understand the philosophy of how auditory learning is key to grounding information within the learner. Especially as the ears are the first sense organ to develop after the brain/spinal cord. Given the reliance of people listening to music through Ipods and their phones, it only makes sense that bringing music into learning in a disciplined way to encourage learning and emotional intelligence is going to happen more and more in the years.

    The other thing that Nina does highlight which I believe is essential in the noisy world we live in, is that silence is just as important as music when used correctly. Every sacred philosophy encouraged the use of sound and silence in equal measure to contact the still voice within and to create a feeling of peace and oneness. So too, does that need to happen in educational facilities where the focus is for students to absorbe more and more information that far surpasses the amount of information their own educators ever had to absorb when they were the same age!

    For those who wish to be a pioneer and truly care about their students well being, then using music to speak to their minds and hearts whilst learning facts and figures, is truly an innovative way of transforming teaching within a classroom.
  5. This is a perfect little book.

    It is not too long; it is not too theoretical; it does not oversimplify the very complex field of neuro-science; nor does it oversimplify the complex process of teaching and behaviour management; it is not too indulgent; it is not too didactic.

    It could have been all of these things. Nina Jackson has clearly engaged with the research of others and undertaken her own research and she could have made the book longer and deeper by including her studies and findings. She rightly draws attention to the vast literature on learning, the brain, and behaviour management but does not complicate this work by including too much detail. This works well because it gives this book credibility without losing the practical dimension.

    Sometimes it is difficult for people who are devoted to a particular technique or style to avoid being didactic. She could have made the approaches to managing challenging behaviour seem simple and told teachers:do this. She doesnt. Its very much a book which says this worked for me” and many others. Try it.

    It is well written. Teachers and parents will relate to the personal stories in the early sections and identify with the challenges Nina faced. Her personal achievements in finding a solution through music provide an excellent feel good factor throughout the book.

    It is well structured. Each section provides suggested resources for different occasions and purposes and has a wealth of practical suggestions clearly written by a successful and stimulating professional.

    It is well balanced. It has its own notes of caution and even a section which reminds us that silence can be golden too!

    Overall it is a book well worth buying and using. It also contains an interesting and varied selection of music that can be used in a range of circumstances. It stimulates the reader to engage with the music. I shall start by going out to find Gabriels Oboe by Ennio Morricone.
  6. Nina JacksonsThe Little Book of Music in the Classroom will certainly give the teachers who pick it up food for thought.
    Although teachers may have heard about music improving learning, few will have an inkling where to start" this book can be that start.
    Nina clearly sets out where and when music can benefit classrooms to change the mood of the children: to calm, energise and motivate. There are recommended lists of music that are tried and tested" classical, modern and songs.
    She explains how music can assist in problem-solving and recall as well as perhaps more obviously to act as a stimulus for creative thinking and writing.

    I particularly liked the Musical Snacks to help pupils in the change from one task to another within a session; giving the pupil time to reflect on the earlier task and prepare or re-energise for the next.
    We will all see the benefit of playing music as pupils enter a classroom" it lessens the talk, the pupils absorb the mood of the music and as it fades are ready to begin the lesson.
    I already know primary teachers who use music to calm children after energetic playtimes or to signal tidying up times.

    Music affects our behaviour" supermarkets have long known this, we actually buy more when lively music is playing.The Little Book of Music in the Classroom shows teachers how music can be another aspect in their repertoire. Worth a try? Absolutely. (and the musics great too.)
  7. If there is one thing sure to engage students its music” this adventurous book will challenge you as a teacher. The ideas are massively intriguing, plentiful, and brave and, to be frank, they sound very exciting. The ideas span the subjects and the book lays out its methods simply, with suggested music lists, tips and advice on how to implement each idea. As Nina Jackson explains in her introduction, it takes a pluck of courage to introduce music in this manner, but the potential pay-off seems worth it. A nice touch is the appendices at the rear offering ideas on picking up free/cheap music and some top tips for compilation CDs and advice on copyright. Music engages, simple as that. Ms Jacksons book could bring a whole new aspect to your teaching.
  8. Nina Jackson has worked with dozens of teachers on our CPD programmes and supported them to carry out their own research intoMusic and the Mind. The results of that research has been overwhelmingly positive. Once started on using music in the classroom teachers just integrate it into their practice because they are convinced of the value it brings to childrens learning, motivation and engagement. The Little book of Music provides everything a teacher needs to get started.
  9. This charming book is a pleasure to hold and to read. It is beautifully presented. It feels like a 19th century book of poetry rather than a book on methodology presenting sound research. Normally I don't write about book prices but the price of '£10.99 for this publication is really good value for money. The book focuses on “using music to improve memory, motivation, learning and creativity”. The chapters in the book focus on using music for learning, for relaxation and calm, for motivating, stimulating and energising, and finally for reaching an outcome. Each chapter gives some theoretical background, sample activities, a list of sample musical pieces to use and a summary of main points to remember. The book is deeply rooted in Suggestopaedia, Accelerated Learning and Brain Gym and is aimed at teaching in general not just EFL. The choice of music is supported by research on the effect the given type of music has on the human brain and there is the BMP ( Beat Per Minute) justification for each selection. I particularly like the ideas for using songs for Special Educational Needs (SEN) students who have speech problems like stammering and stuttering. The author also warns about choosing the right kind of music and in doing so the need to consider many factors. When you read the book you may feel that from now on the classroom should be filled with music. Yet there is a word of warning: ” silence can be golden and if you play the wrong music at the wrong time” you can go seriously wrong. I wish there was a CD that came with it. It seems that the book is aimed mainly at teachers of young learners but it is universal applicable to all age groups. Teachers who read it will also learn a lot for themselves as human beings as well as professionals.

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