Mark McKergow describes how music can be used at the end of your lessons, as a soundtrack for your students to review their learning
The purpose of concert review is to allow learners to review the content of your lessons for a few moments at the end, whilst slow, steady and relaxing music is played in the background.
The idea of using a ‘concert review’ process to end a lesson is usually attributed to Bulgarian learning pioneer Dr Georgi Lozanov, who was noted for using readings over classical music as part of his ‘suggestopaedia’ method. The passive concert reading featured slow and relaxing music, often by Baroque composers such as Albinioni and Pachelbel. Lozanov’s early work was carried out in the Eastern Bloc of the late 1960s, where the range of recorded music available was very limited, particularly by the standarsd of today. No Chill-Out compilation CDs back then! This practice was taken up by other pracititioners including Colin Rose, who has included the method in his many publications.
There are several ways to include concert review in your lessons:
- Ask the class to relax, perhaps closing their eyes, and listen to the music. Summarise the main points of the lesson or course so far, for perhaps three to five minutes. This method closely resembles Lozanov’s original approach.
- Ask the class to review their notes and perhaps answer some questions in writing, while music is played. I often ask pupils to think about and list the three most important things to remember from the lesson, as well as things they would like to know more about.
- Play the same music while displaying key slides, diagrams, charts etc for everyone to look at and review. These could be the same slides etc used earlier in the lesson.
What music should I choose?
Generally your chosen music should be something slow and steady (60 to 70 beats per minute). This signals a new phase of the lesson to your students and it also calms their heart rate, breathing and physiology – it may even affect their brain waves. This is all a marked shift from the usual pace and style of classwork and helps to get everyone’s attention. It also finishes the class on a relaxed and peaceful note.
My favourite pieces for concert review include:
- Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D (part of the Lind Institute’s Largo CD and available in many versions)
- Tomaso Albinoni, Adagio from Oboe Concerto in Minor, Op.9, No.2 (my own personal favourite, just the right length and pace, available on the Lind Institute’s Classical Melodies CD)
Be bold, find some CDs and go for it! TEX
You can find more information about Dr Lozanov, including his recent writing, at http://dr-lozanov.dir.bg
Colin Rose, Accelerated Learning, Aston Clinton: Accelerated Learning Systems, 1985
Mark McKergow is a speaker, author and learning consultant.
This article was first published in Teaching Expertise magazine, Issue 12 Summer 2006