Set the Learning Pace

You can use music to ‘set the pace’ based on the tasks you are asking students to do. For example–are they reading, writing, reflecting? Perhaps a focused state of concentration (calming) would be useful. Are you asking them to engage in activities, be highly attentive or just trying to keep their energy levels up? Try Energizing music. How about listening to a new topic introduction, starting the day, or just holding a focused state? Look at mid-level music.

Setting the learning pace is about:

  • setting a desired energy and attention level
  • supporting a positive learning attitude

When to Use:

  • before class
  • during a break
  • during reading and independent study
  • for a topic introduction (see “Whats Up Next”)
  • for an Memorable Learning activity
  • during Orchestrated Activations



Sound Suggestions for Setting the Pace of Learning are categorized by energy level in beats per minute (BPM). Play these instrumental selections to set the energy level needed for a specific learning task.


CALMING:  50 to 80 BPM

Classical Instrumental
“Canon in D”, Johann Pachelbel, especially the extended 20-minute version on Memory Beat, Daniel Kobialka
Relax with the Classics, volumes 1 to 3, or Classical Harmonies, LIND Institute (Baroque era music)

Contemporary Instrumental
Garden Serenity, David and Steve Gordon (nature sounds, flute, harp, keyboard, chimes)
Hopes and Dreams, Lisa Lynne (harp with flute, guitar, cello, percussion)
Interludes (Fresh Aire Series) Mannheim Steamroller (piano with strings and synthesized sounds)
Ultimate Music Variety, Corwin Press (tracks 16-20, guitar, bass, keyboard, synthesized sounds)
When You Wish Upon a Star, Daniel Kobialka

World Music
Journeys and Inner Voices, Carlo Nakai (Native American flute)
World on a String, Daniel Kobialka (various cultures)



Classical Instrumental
Dance of the Renaissance, Richard Searles
“Finale” from Piano Concerto #20 in D minor, Mozart
Mozart Effect for Children: Tune Up the Mind, Don Campbell
Mozart Effect for Children: Mozart to Go, Don Campbell

Boundless, Scott Wilke (light jazz)
Oceans, Christopher Peacock (piano with small ensemble)
Quiet Storms, Michael Hoppe (flute)
River of Gold, Bruce Becvar (light jazz)

Emerald Castles, Richard Searles (Celtic instrumental)
Evolution: The Best of EKO, EKO (world fusion)
Nouveau Flamenco, Ottmar Liebert (flamenco fusion)
Ventana Al Sol, Echoes of Incas (Peruvian)
African Voices: Songs of Life, various artists (African vocals)
Breathing Spaces, Jiang Xiao Qing (Asian fusion)


ENERGIZING: 110 BPM and Above

Die Grössten Hits, Rondo’ Veneziano (includes drumbeats and other contemporary sounds)
Tune Your Brain with Mozart: Energize, Elizabeth Miles
Classical Rhythms, LIND Institute (baroque era music)
Mozart Effect for Children: Mozart in Motion, Don Campbell

World Music
Arabic Groove, Putumayo World Music (Middle Eastern vocals)
Come to the Dance: A Celtic Tradition, John Whelan
Apurimac, Cousco (South American fusion)
Earth Tribe Rhythms, Brent Lewis (various drums)
Leahy, Leahy (Celtic instrumental)

Contemporary Music (from different eras!)

Energizers to Go! by Eric Jensen, Corwin Press
Greatest Energizer Tunes Ever by Eric Jensen, Corwin Press
K-Tel Presents: Hooked on Swing, Larry Elgart with His Orchestra
Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse and other recordings by Mannheim Steamroller
“Strike Up the Band,” George Gershwin


These selections include both fast and slow movements.

Baroque Music to Empower Learning & Performance, volume 1-3, OptimaLearning Classics
Brandenburg Concertos, Bach
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Mozart
The Four Seasons, Concerto in E Major, Antonio Vivaldi
Music for Royal Fireworks, George Frederic Handel
Water Music, George Frederic Handel

Contemporary Instrumental
American Classics, Chandos compilations of American instrumental music
Anthems, Paul Winter (small instrumental ensembles)
Fresh Aire, volumes 1 to 8, Mannheim Steamroller (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, strings, winds)
Sketches on an American Journey, David Arkenstone (keyboards, guitar, penny whistle, saxophone, strings)
Ultimate Music Variety, Eric Jensen/Corwin Press


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