Don't stop me now: How music impacts learning and mood

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
— William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Even Shakespeare understood that music can impact the mood, by focusing on the music and allowing himself to be consumed solely by it. In his play Twelfth Night, Orsino - deeply in love with the Countess Olivia - mused that an excess of music might cure his obsession.

There is no denying that music can induce emotion. Just think back to some of the happiest moments in your life, and also the saddest. It is highly likely that when you think back to those times, or you hear a particular song that helped you process your feelings, you’re instantly transported back to that very moment.

Music as therapy

Music can act as a form of release and therapy. When you hear the first few bars of a song, you are overwhelmed with the emotions associated with that time.

Whilst reading this, you’ll probably be recalling some of these great moments (perhaps even humming a few bars of that happy song under your breath). Likewise, there will be those tunes that evoke feelings and memories of sadness. However, these can be looked as a form of healing and growing. After all, if we do not go through challenging or difficult situations, how can we possibly develop and learn from these experiences? These experiences help shape us into who we are and define our personality traits.

This is what we want to instil in the future generation and youth today. We want them to learn and experience a plethora of situations and subsequently deal with their emotions; regardless of whether they’re painful or uplifting. It’s all part of the process to reach our neverending goal to be happy and content.

80% of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60% of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children's Mental Health Report. The sooner we acknowledge this and encourage discussions on how to find a release for these symptoms, the sooner we can teach our youth of today to strive to become the very best versions of themselves. 

With music, there is no judgement. It can either provide an indulgence or an escape, and is essential for our continued development. 

Children who had chosen to learn an instrument were considered by both their parents and teachers to be less anxious than those who had received only group lessons.
— Dawn Rose, The Conversation

Music in the classroom

Music is essential in the classroom and learning. Exposing children to music helps improve their cognitive function from a young age. Children can build their confidence through performance and find a way to express themselves through lyrics and melody. It’s even been proven that children involved in music, score 7.2 points higher on IQ tests!

Some argue that background music can actually help concentration, though this tends to be music that is more subdued and less upbeat; a steady and repetitive pulse. In fact, a study found that music which is just instrumental actually aids learning performance.

How then, can we encourage our pupils to embrace the power of music? More emphasis should be placed on developing a child’s confidence through extra curricular activities like: music lessons, singing, poetry, drama groups, debating and other performance-based clubs.

This can help to develop and encourage creativity, in turn equipping the future generation with the skills to tackle difficult situations and develop analytical, logical and kinesthetic skills. Through this, we are nurturing a child's confidence to break glass ceilings, lead breakthroughs and build resilience.

It is our responsibility as educators, parents, friends and peers to ensure the future generation has access to all of the tools to help improve their learning and development.

What better way to do that then by encouraging them to belt out…



We hope this blog elicited some fond musical memories! We'd love to hear about how your school uses music in learning and productivity. Please comment below.