Monday, December 27, 2010

Music in Psychology Class--A Different Way to Approach Things

Most of us have seen the items on the listservs about lists of music that go with particular units.  Some of us use the music as a transition into class.  Some of use show the lyrics on the board/screen while the students listen to the song, adding observations or comments afterward.  A nice little combination, a free one, can be found on

The first example here is The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.  The poster has already printed the lyrics for you/us.  Some concept ideas include schema, the role of individual in society, perception,  states of consciousness, communication, hearing versus listening, and more.

A perennial favorite of my students is the Green Day song, Basketcase.  This song questions the writer's sanity while he is reaching out for help.  Some great psych idea are used including "neurosis," perception/misperception, therapy, dream interpretation, the role of drugs in interpreting reality, and more. 

As with anything from the internet, I would caution that you view everything first prior to sharing it with your students.  While they may be superficially mature and sophisticated, they are still children and we have an obligation to screen and contextualize everything we do with them.  Also, each community has different standards--what may be usable and successful in one class may not work in another school. 

There will be more of these posts coming up with some of my personal favorites.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

1 comment:

Jennifer Collison said...

Good ideas!

I like Simple Plan lyrics, such as "Welcome to my Life" and "Perfect." The first song deals with the role of empathy and, in the way I apply it in my classroom, segues into a few activities about stigma. There are some connections to parental expectations, stress, and other social psych concepts.

Also, it's fun to ask students to find examples of Freud's defense mechanisms in song lyrics. Always interesting finds there, too.