Many years ago when I begun the regular moves that characterised my first jobs in teaching, I had to find a way to fill the tedious packing and unpacking. Luckily I found last.fm and filled the quiet boredom of box packing.
The kind of music that I enjoyed, Ludovico Einaudi, was the kind of music I enjoyed in my A-Levels and degree: soundtrack, lyric free melodies that aid concentration. It worked for me.
Despite some decent recommendations, I have been guilty of having some terrible music in my classroom (sorry!). I have also enjoyed the evocative musicality of great artists. How can we know what music is truly suitable?
Students ask if they can listen to music, particularly during extended tasks. I often say no .
The rhythm of lessons I can see next term is one where students will have music (and a timer) to accompany independent work. The vision is that their experience will be enhanced, and that their habits will be conditioned to an even more music-like state.
Currently, I have many video game soundtracks played by an orchestra.
I also have environmental soundtracks. Most of these operate as multi-hour videos, but is possible to acquire shorter videos with a little searching.
How to integrate such music in a lesson is a consideration of time and judgement, both of which can be hazy. To actually embed the audio each week can take a substantial time, and be impossible to judge. Instead, as you can see from my Planning for Students V2.0, extended tasks slides contain a hyperlinked button to the music library. Choosing a song then allows you to then return to the task, and to play that song until you minimise the PowerPoint.
The most useful soundtrack, I find, is the slowed-down music of Morrowind and similar games. The extended notes structures the opening ten minutes of the lesson (with the six questions I wrote about earlier last week).
A final consideration is to match the Beats Per Minute of the song to the desired energy of the task. Interstellar and Inception, for example, have some great examples of music to raise excitement levels.