Years ago, music was common in Bible classes for children. It was primarily used to fill time and entertain. In the last decade or so, music found its way into teen church gatherings – primarily to set a mood. Now in many places, music has been removed from Bible classes for children and teens for a variety of reasons. It is unfortunate, because used wisely, music can add value to your Bible classes and even improve learning outcomes.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use music in Bible classes for children or teens.
- Setting a mood. Does your Bible story have a mood you want to convey? Playing music with that same mood in the background as students arrive can begin setting the tone for your lesson.
- Adjusting energy levels. Are students dragging into class? Do they have too much energy or anxiety? Energetic music can give your students a burst of energy, while soothing music can help calm them.
- Adding movement. Whether it’s a kids song with accompanying movements or using ASL to sing, music can give young students some opportunities to move appropriately during your class.
- Making memory work easier. Studies have found that putting needed memory work to music can make it easier to remember. Many scriptures already have songs written for them. Can’t find one you want? Take a tune from the public domain and replace the words syllable for syllable with the desired Bible verse.
- Managing classroom behavior. Want students to move to another activity or part of the room? Choose music cues and let students know these cues are signals to do something specific. It may take a little reminding at first, but can save your voice over time.
- Enhancing Creativity. Music can inspire creativity directly or indirectly. Instruct students to use the piece of music you are playing to give them ideas for the activity you have given them.
- Adding Atmosphere. Similar to setting the mood before telling a story, music can add atmosphere to a story while you are telling it. Try to use authentic, historical Jewish music for the most authentic background music.
With a little extra effort, music can add value to your Bible classes. Can you find other ways to use music as an aid to learning?