See some reading suggestions below–I’ve annotated them to help you find the books that can meet your particular interests.

My general favorite right now are these two books by Daniel Levitin–great reads and good insights into how and why music affects us.

  • This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsessions.
  • The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.

Looking for how-to’s and activities? I might be a bit biased but Soundtracks for Learning comes to mind first off!



Andersen, Ole, Marcy Marsh and Dr. Arthur Harvey. Learn with the Classics: Using Music to Study Smart at Any Age. LIND Institute, San Francisco, 1999. This is a thorough review of how to use classical music to enhance focus. Includes learning skills for students, teachers and parents to use for enhanced learning and information on brain research. Includes a CD of classical music for learning.

Bamberger, Jeanne. The Mind Behind the Musical Ear: How Children Develop Musical Intelligence. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.
A comprehensive review of how musicality develops through childhood. Includes activities for enhancing the development of the musical intelligence.

Brewer, Chris and Don G. Campbell. Rhythms of Learning: Creative Tools for Developing Lifelong Skills. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press, 1992.
Learning theory and activities on using music, art and movement to enhance teaching and learning. Includes 75 activities. Don Campbell is the author of “The Mozart Effect.”

Brewer, Chris. Soundtracks for Learning: Using Music in the Classroom. LifeSounds Educational Services, 2008.
A complete guide to implementing recorded music into the classroom to enhance focus and creativity, activate content information through concert readings, assist in movement-oriented learning activities and assist in classroom management practices and build community.

Campbell, Don G. 100 Ways to Improve Teaching Using Your Voice and Music: Pathways to Accelerate Learning. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press, 1992. Short activities for using music and your voice to improve classroom atmosphere and learning.

Campbell, Don G. The Mozart Effect. New York: Avon Press, 1997. An overview of the ways music is used to learn, heal and improve quality of life. Interesting research reviews and stories about music successes.

Campbell, Don G. The Mozart Effect for Children. New York: Avon Press, 2000.
How music can help children to learn, grow and develop.

Dunn, Sonja. All Together Now: 200 of Sonja Dunn’s Best Chants. NY: Pembroke Publishers, 1999.

Feldman, Jean, PhD. Transition Time: Let’s Do Something Different. Gryphon House, 1995.

Hannaford, C. Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head. (2nd ed.). Captain Cook, HI: Jamilla Nur Publishing, 2005.
Includes a chapter on the research and importance of sound and music in learning.

Hull, Arthur. Drum Circle Spirit: Facilitating Human Potential Through Rhythm. White Cliffs Media, Tempe Arizona: 1998.
Techniques for learning and teaching drumming and rhythm to people of all ages.

Jensen, E. Tools for Engagement: Managing Emotional States for Learner Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: The Brain Store®/Corwin Press, 2003.
A very extensive review of the science and importance learning states that includes many practical teaching strategies and recommendations for music use.

Jensen, Eric. Music with the Brain in Mind. San Diego, CA: The Brain Store, Inc., 2000.
A review of the current science and research concerning music and learning. Very thorough.

Jensen, Eric. Top Tunes for Teaching. Eric Jensen: The Brain Store/Corwin Press, 2000.
A collection of ideas for using music in the classroom.

Levitin, Daniel. This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton, 2006.

Millbower, Lenn. Training with a Beat: The Teaching Power of Music. Stylus Publishing, 2000. Lots of good ideas in this book for using music in public schools.

Miles, Elizabeth. Tune Your Brain: Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body, and Mood. NY, NY: Berkley Publishing Group, 1997. Techniques and ideas for using music to enhance living and learning.

Ortiz, John M. The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology. York Beach, ME: Samuel Wiser, Inc. 1997. A how-to for using music and sound for psychological health and well-being. Includes emotional intelligence, community building and other social uses of music.

Daniel Schneck and Dorita S, Berger. The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications.  NY, NY. Jessica Kingsley, 2006. This book explains what “music” is, how it is processed by and affects the body, and how it can be applied in a range of physiological and psychological conditions. Rhythm, melody, timbre, harmony, dynamics, and form, and their effects on the body are explored in detail and case studies show how music therapy can benefit people with autistic spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, schizophrenia, and sensory difficulties, among other conditions.

Shaw, Gordon. Keeping Mozart in Mind. Gordon Shaw, 2nd Edition: Elvesier Academic Press, 2004. A very comprehensive overview of the research around the connections between music and spatial reasoning. Written by the primary researcher in this realm.

Storms, Jerry. 101 Music Games for Children. Alameda, California: Hunter House, 1995. As the title says–here are a variety of games using music for the classroom. A great resource of ideas.


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