Teachers play music in classroom, encourage positive environment



Natasha Dardashti staff writer
There are a few ways to spend time in class before the bell rings. Some teachers prefer students sit in silence, others don’t mind them talking to classmates and friends. But some teachers like to add a different kind of energy to the room: music.
English teacher Steven Rubenstein began playing music in his classroom nine years ago when he received a sound system for his classroom. According to Rubenstein, the atmosphere of his classroom is more laid back when he plays music before class begins.
I think that it’s sort of relaxing and fun for the students coming into the classroom. They never know what’s going to be playing,” Rubenstein said.
In order to find new songs, Rubenstein searches keywords using Spotify. Since the release of Spotify, he has been more able to play more songs relating to lessons.
“I play songs that are directly related to what I’m teaching,” Rubenstein said. “There are all types of songs that are appropriate. [For example,] when we do romanticism, we will be listening to Schubert, a leader that we will be studying at the time”
For Rubenstein, music has even fostered traditions in the classroom. During second semester, he finds songs with student names and plays them before class. He then makes a game of guessing who the song is dedicated to.
“I think I was listening to a song, I don’t remember what song it was, but it had a student’s name in it,” Rubenstein said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, it would be easy for me to find songs related to student names!’”
First year history teacher Drew Stewart has a rich background with music. Growing up, Stewart recalls listening to many records in his house. His taste for music ties in with the subject he teaches, as well. In order to combine his passions, Stewart tries to play music from different eras, such as music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, during his class.
“As a history teacher, you cannot look at history without looking at music and its impact on culture,” Stewart said. “I love merging the two.”
Spanish teacher Sergio Lopez enjoys playing the Hispanic radio in his class. He also tends to assign classwork involving music, which “encourages [students] to get interested in the language.” These assignments involve translating lyrics and trying to find synonyms for certain words.
“I find that they’re more interested in the culture, in the language itself,” Lopez said. “They want to know what the lyrics are saying.”
Government and economics teacher Catherine Pincu began playing music after she found that her students enjoyed it. Before, she had just played music for herself, but after finding out that students enjoyed it she began to play tunes during passing period, as well.
I remember this kid wrote on Rate My Teacher that I play really cool music, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, wow,’” Pincu said. “So as soon as I heard that the kids like it too, I made more of an effort to do it.”
With all the political opinions in her class, Pincu wishes to unite her students over some shared interests.
“It seems like a lot of students like music I like,” Pincu said. “If there’s somebody I can’t connect with over Gov or Econ, maybe we can agree about music.”
Pincu hopes to encourage a stress-free environment despite the rigors of her class.
“I think that music is usually a positive in the environment, and I play music to give myself energy and improve my own mood,” Pincu said. “I just want things to be positive, and [I want to] foster a happy environment before we start studying serious things like taxes.”