Hey Teaching TSP readers. It’s Nathan Palmer from SociologySource.com. Kia and Hollie have been nice enough to give me a chance to tell you about SociologySounds.com a site that helps educators find sociological music to play in their classes. If you’re reading this fine blog, then I’m guessing you are as passionate about teaching sociology as I am. That’s why I can’t wait any longer to tell you about SociologySounds.
SociologySounds.com is the easiest way for you to find great sociological songs to play in your classes. Each song features lyrics that are relevant to the sociological topics you teach everyday. We sorted all of our songs by class topic making it a snap to find exactly the right song. Once you find a song you like, you can play that song for free right from SociologySounds.com. Best of all, you can recommend songs and we’ll include them in our catalog. We’ll even give you a proper shout out for each submission as a way of saying thanks!
Why You Should Use Music in Your Classes.
Playing sociologically relevant music before class starts is a fantastic way to set the tone. The right song can energize your students, create a poignant moment, or at least be thought provoking. Think of the music as priming your students for what your about to discuss in class.
A really nifty trick is to time the song so that it ends at exactly the time class starts. Then like a game of musical chairs your students know that when the music stops they need to be ready for class to begin. The trick is, you don’t even have to tell them you’re doing this. After a few classes classical conditioning kicks in and they automatically stop talking. If you are teaching 100+ students YOU MUST try this.
The idea for playing music to launch my class came from, of all places, comedy clubs and concerts. Comedians and bands use music to hype the crowd getting them ready for the show. Think of the excitement that washes over the crowd when the music dies, the stage lights go out, and everyone crushes to the front of the stage eagerly anticipating the first song at a concert. A sociology class is not a rock concert and you are not a comedian, but if you could get 1/10 of that excitement before you start class think of how different your class experience could be. I like to think of it as my entrance music before I enter the ring to do pedagogical battle.
This is, of course, just one of the many ways to use music in your classes and we are by no means the first to have this idea. There is a wealth of SoTL research on using music in your courses and I’d highly encourage you to use them in conjunction with our site. Here are just a few of the pieces available: Elterman 1983, Martinez 1994, Walczak and Reuter 1994, Martinez 1995, Martinez 1998, Ahlkvist 1999, Albers and Bach 2003.
The 100 Song Challenge: Join Us!
We are launching SociologySounds.com with a bold challenge. We want to hit 100 songs in our catalog in our first week. Help us reach our goal by recommending a song and spreading the word about us. Send an email to your department, Tweet it to your tweeps, post it on Facebook, or spread the word how ever you can.
We’ll be posting songs as fast as we can and you can follow our progress by checking our song counter. Thank you in advance for all your help!
You can also opt to submit the song anonymously if you are shy or if you are embarrassed that you know of a Backstreet Boys song with a sociological message. It can be our little secret. ↩
Not really. I don’t see teaching as a battle nor my students as an opponent. But I do like the metaphor in that the music gets me hyped up to teach like I’m on fire. ↩
In case this is the first we’ve met and you are wondering who’s behind this venture or how it makes money: SociologySounds.com and it’s parent site SociologySource.com are public services put out by two sociologists from Georgia Southern University. Both sites make no money (in fact they cost money). We are just a couple of nerdy sociologists trying to give back to our community. ↩