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Intended Learning Outcome:

To create a positive atmosphere to aid concentration


Background music can aid concentration but different types may be better than others. This TLA develops a collective playlist for use in class and will also help students to feel part of the group.


Discuss the music students listen to – what do they listen to for different aspects of their life? What do they listen to to focus?

Discuss the research on the music which can help us to concentrate when studying.

Put together a collaborative playlist to use as background music during parts of sessions.

Each session, during focused study time, play a track from the playlist.


You may want to use this to link to your module. For example, in Music Theory you could analyse harmonic and rhythmic forms of the songs; in Music Business you could talk about the commercial merits of the playlist etc.


Large Group Teaching:

This will work as a whole-group activity.

Online Teaching:

To play background music with the best sound in Zoom: in advanced audio settings chose ‘music or computer sound only’. When you play music from Spotify etc. control the volume of the music within the app.


Students listen out for their song. They feel more connected to the group through the collaborative process.

Next Steps:

Links to other activities:

Further reading:

  • Music during lectures: Will students learn better?: Dosseville, F., Laborde, S. and Scelles, N. (2012) ‘Music during lectures: Will students learn better?’, Learning and Individual Differences. JAI, 22(2), pp. 258–262.
  • Can Music Help You Study and Focus?:
  • Fast and loud background music disrupts reading comprehension: Thompson, W. F., Schellenberg, E. G. and Letnic, A. K. (2012) ‘Fast and loud background music disrupts reading comprehension’, Psychology of Music. SAGE PublicationsSage UK: London, England, 40(6), pp. 700–708.




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