Training with a Beat

In the recently published Training with a Beat, author Lenn Millbower makes a case for the power of integrating music into the learning process. Music, he argues, establishes a positive learning environment, aids memorization, changes energy levels, and fosters creativity, among other benefits. Here are some excerpts:

On Background Sound

“Background music during learning discussions and solo reflection activities can be especially helpful. … [It] creates a sense of privacy for small group discussion, making conversations more satisfying and your learners more likely to say what they feel; enters into memory and aids recall; [and] masks ambient noise from other groups. … The steady tones and tempos of Baroque music make it ideal for this purpose. Much of it was in fact composed as background music for kings, emperors, and other dignitaries.”

On Energy Levels

“Music can change the dynamic of your learning environment at appropriate moments, encouraging people to move about, relax, calm down, or get excited, depending on the needs of your session. … After intense concentration, play faster music in a major key to encourage better moods. After heated discussion, play slow, minor-key music with low-rhythmic activity to calm your learners down. After a depressing, worrisome discussion, play major-key music with high-rhythmic activity and short, quick notes to create a ‘happy’ mood.”

On a Positive Environment

“Providing pleasant emotional content [music] to your learners will establish a link between you, your classroom, and the learners' pleasure. … Learners who walk into your classroom and immediately feel comfortable … will be engaged to learn.”

Printed with permission of Stylus Publishing, Sterling, Va., (800) 232-0223, [1]. For more about the author, visit [2].