Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pandora in the Classroom

Do you use Pandora in your classroom?
In case you don't know what Pandora is, it's a free site that lets you stream music. You do need to create an account though, and the free account does have some inconveniences: it only plays for one hour and then you have to refresh, and there are commercials that are much louder than the music. But my kiddos have become used to the commercials, and we like to laugh at them and make fun of them.

Commercial: "Do you need a new ________?" 
And then I'll shout something like, "NO! Now be quiet and let us work!"

I can't stand silence, so Pandora has been a life saver in my classroom. I used to play music on my iPod, but I got so tired of hearing the same songs over and over and over and over..... Maybe next year I'll upgrade to the commercial-free account. Maybe...

Anyway, this post was actually inspired by a question I asked on my Facebook page. My Facebook friend, Laura, suggested that I compile everyone's favorite stations into a blog post. So VOILA! Here we are!
I only stream instrumental music. I want my kids to stay focused on their work and not be singing along. Two of my favorites are Solo Piano Radio and Lorie Line Radio. I recently discovered the Lorie Line station and I LOVE it, which is what sparked my Facebook question. It plays a lot more pop songs than Solo Piano Radio. My favorite thing about both of these stations is that they both play some church hymns, which personally brings me a lot of peace and calmness. Again, there are no words, and I'm thinking most of the kids don't know that they're hymns, so I'm OK with it.  Although, two days ago, one of my kiddos was excited to tell me, "Mrs. Nerby, they play this song at my church!" His comment made me smile :) At Christmastime, I also like to play Peaceful Holidays Radio. When we learn about Native Americans, I like to play Native American Drums and Flute Music during work time. Of course I have a few stations for me for when the kids are at specials: an assortment of pop and 80s stations, as well as a calm one called Easy Listening Radio. Although be forewarned... it does tend to overplay Michael Buble....

Here are some of my Facebook Friends' favorite stations, as well as stations that were suggested by blog readers in the comments. I haven't listened to them all, so you will want to check them out for yourself before you use in your classroom:
* The Piano Guys 
(LOTS of "likes" for this one, and I have to agree! LOVE!!)
* Spa Suite
* Radio for Kids
* Elizabeth Mitchell
* New Age Instrumental
* Mozart for Kids
* Kids Bop
* Jack Johnson Children's Radio
* Rainforest 
* Disney
* Children's Indie Music
* Vitamin String Quartet
* Calm Meditation Radio
* 2cellos
* The Mozart Effect
* Relaxation Radio
* Clair de Lune
* Nature Sounds
* Ambient Instrumental
* Classical Radio
* Classical Medley
* Yiruma Station
* Classical Guitar
* Rockabye Baby 
* Kenny G Radio
* Film Scores Radio
* The O'Neill Brothers
* Sleepytime Tunes (Children's)
* Children's Instrumental Ensemble
* Calming Rain with Piano
* Halloween Theme
* Classical for Studying
* Lindsey Sterling
* Yo Yo Ma Radio
* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Radio
* Thomas Newman Radio
* Kevin Kern Radio
* Jim Brickman
* Toddler Radio
* White Noise Radio

Do you have any other favorites? Comment below and I'll add them to the list!

64 comments:

  1. Also rockabye baby (not the classic lullaby, the group that does lullaby versions of pop songs)

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  2. I use Kenny G radio a lot, it has some songs with words but my Third graders stay focused! Also love Film Scores radio, and my teaching teammate got me hooked on Two Cellos...love Pandora! We have it on almost all day everyday!

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  3. I love Pandora too!! Sometimes I let my kids pick what kind of station we will create!! I love all of these ideas, and can't wait to add them to my pandora lists!!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade 

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  4. Classical for studying! It plays some nice classical versions of some popular songs, Disney classics, classic rock, etc. but it's quiet enough that the kids usually don't notice, but it's still entertaining to me :) plus there are some other great cello and piano pieces mixed in!

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  5. So excited that both of my favs made the list! :)

    Brianne

    Hooo-Ray For Teaching

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    1. Well, what are your two favs, just curious. ?

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  6. Thanks for the suggestions - I'm going to listen to them on my work day today so I can use them next year! Sara

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  7. The O'Neill Brothers are my all-time favorite! They play GREAT instrumental music :)

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  8. Sleepytime Tunes (Children's) is great! Rock songs done classical style.

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  9. I adore the Children's Instrumental Ensemble station. It plays instrumental, almost lullaby,, versions of popular music.

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  10. Calming Rain with Piano station

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  11. In late October I like to play Halloween Theme. No words, but the instrumental music is dark and spooky.

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  12. I have just started using Pandora because I use Rhapsody for my personal listening. I really like the idea of using Pandora in the classroom! Thanks for the list. I will check those out for next year.

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  13. When we are doing fun things like art (or even as a reward) we use Disney's Songs and stories or Disney (children's) radio. My kiddos love it. I love the long list of stations. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. There's one called "classical for studying" that has lots of instrumental versions of popular songs, I use it as background music when we are writing

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  15. My kids seemed to dread classical, so we started to listen to Lindsey Sterling. Classical with a bit of techno. They love it and so do I!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! Love the techno!

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  16. My 4th graders and I felt that Disney played the same songs over and over, and we have discovered a love for "film scores radio". It only plays instrumental, and we have fun taking a second to guess which movie. It's also fun when we are working on something and really dramatic movie comes up:)

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  17. We listen to Yo Yo Ma Radio, Lindsey Stirling Radio, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Radio, and Thomas Newman Radio.

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  18. I absolutely love the Kevin kern radio station.

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  19. Another great option is slacker. It is just like Pandora but it gives you even more station choices. I use their pre made stations most. In the classical section they have a movie soundtrack station that is great. In the kids section they also have a disney station and a toddler station that we use often (I teach preschool). So check out Slacker!!

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  20. What about the commercials? Are they distracting or ever inappropriate?

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    1. Distracting... yes. Especially the yodeling one that started playing last week. My kids are pretty used to them and do a good job of ignoring them. If they're too distracting, I'll ask a student to turn down the volume on the SMARTBoard, or if I'm close, I'll turn it down myself. As for inappropriate commercials, I can't remember hearing anything inappropriate for school (knock on wood). Although they do play political commercials during election season.

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    2. When the commercials came on after our author's purpose mini-lesson, all the kids started saying, "HEY! Ms. Smith! That is trying to persuade us!" So now everytime we hear a commercial someone has to remind me that the purpose of a commercial is to persuade someone of something. Hey...at least it stuck!

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    3. If you use Chrome, you can install and Adblock extension, then no ads will be played! It's excellent!

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  21. I would be careful with Mumford and Sons. They use the f word in their songs sometimes. I use the "Toddler" station in my classroom-- I teach Kindergarten and it has lots of silly songs.
    :)

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  22. We use White Noise radio daily....it is perfectly calming. We also like the George Winston station.

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  23. I love the film scores radio, too. A lot of film music is very intense and my students say it makes them feel like the work they're working on is more exciting - like each worksheet is an adventure, I guess. I agree with the previous comment that said it's fun to guess what movie it's from.

    Also, for the person concerned about profanity, there is a setting in Pandora where you can choose to only play radio edits of any songs that have lyrics.

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  24. Classical for Studying is also GREAT. It has a wide rang of different kinds of classical - no words songs. Use it all the time. :)

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  25. I love Pandora and I use it a lot, but I don't recommend Mumford and Sons. I listen to it in my office, but not with kids because some of their songs have strong language.

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  26. Family Road Trip is one of my favorites for the classroom! :)

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  27. Here are few that I use that I don't see listed yet: Symphonic Radio, Jurassic Park Film Score, and for more upbeat times, Raffi (Children's) Radio. Thanks for putting this list together! I work with children in early childhood, and I sometimes bring my kindle in, turn on Pandora, and enjoy the music in the back ground. When we were learning about superheros, I found the film score station and the dramatic music inspired some powerful superhero play!

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  28. Glad to see that I am not the only one. I find that we all work better with music. I do like to mix it up a bit, so I love contemporary jazz, the Fish, Norah Jones, and Kids Bop. Boney James and Rick Braun are my favorites. When it's cloudy and rainy, I actually will stream thunderstorms. THe kids love it, and it keeps me sane! I plan to try some of the other stations mentioned this year!

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  29. I use Classical for Studying and Instrumental Folk a lot.

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  30. I will have to try classical for studying. I have a shuffle of Lord of the Rings, Disney, classical something and piano in my room. We don't even hear the commercials.

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  31. Awesome ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  32. Thanks for the ideas! The only way to use Pandora is on my phone with my teacher computer speakers hooked up. Pandora is blocked for our schools. :(

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  33. I work with adults with developmental disabilities, not kids, and some of the stations I play frequently are:
    -Crooked Still radio
    -Gary Jules radio
    -Nick Drake radio
    -Baroque radio
    -Claude Debussy radio
    -Duke Ellington radio.

    When we're doing a more upbeat activity I also really like Squirrel Nut Zippers radio and Trampled by Turtles radio.

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  34. One that I recently found that I love is Classical Romance Radio...

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  35. One that I recently found that I love is Classical Romance Radio...

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  36. Vitamin Sting Quartet Radio! It is mostly instrumental versions of popular songs. It is great!

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  37. I like Barenaked Ladies (Children). While their name isn't the greatest for the classroom, their children songs are fun.

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  38. I love using Pandora in my classroom! It's a great way to find music that correlates to whatever theme we are studying in class. One of my favorite "quiet" stations is "Gymnopedie No. 1," which is a piece by Eric Satie. It's a minimalist instrumental piece, so it is very calming. Sometimes I'll put on the "Dave Brubeck Quartet" station, if we're in the middle of a lively activity. "Christopher Parkening" radio is classical guitar, which can sometimes be a bit lively, but it's mostly calming. "Mission" radio is great, as well. Oh, and our PTA gives us an allotment each year and I make sure that the $36 annual fee is in my receipts; it's well worth the fee to dispense with the ads and enjoy a better quality stream. Thanks for the great post!

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  39. Amazon's new Prime Music service is great, if you're already a member. The selection ability is much more specific than Pandora, as you can choose any album or song and just play it. They have a pretty good library, too.

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  40. Native American Dream Music for rest time!

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  41. My first graders love Let It Go Radio right now! http://www.pandora.com/station/play/1914815992903423223

    Jordan
    Teaching in the Primary Grades

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  42. I am a 6th grade teacher & Tween Radio has saved my sanity...language is 98% edited & it plays current popular music...

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  43. I am a 6th grade teacher & Tween Radio has saved my sanity...language is 98% edited & it plays current popular music...

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  44. i use disney radio a lot the kids are aloud to sing along softly...the kids get to talk without talking...its awesome.

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  45. Hans Zimmer is another great one I use in my 6th grade classroom.

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  46. If you use Google Chrome you can install Adblock. Then no advertisements will play on Pandora, YouTube, etc. it's brilliant!

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  47. Dallas string quartet is my favorite! It's songs from the radio that kids are familiar with, but extremely calm and just string instrumentals. Scott D. Davis is also very similar (popular songs) just instrumental only with the piano

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  48. Another vote for Hans Zimmer, also John Williams both have movie soundtracks that students recognize.

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  49. We listen to Andy McKee in my classroom all day, every day!! I'm looking forward to trying some new stations!

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  50. What great ideas! I love to play quiet music when my students work, but I never thought about Pandora. Will definitely look into some of these stations. Thanks a bunch.

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  51. My kids love Film Scores! It's instrumental and they like to guess the movie the music is from!

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  52. I love the list! I like to listen to Claude Debussey.

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  53. Scott D. Davis and Clam Meditation

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  54. Angela,
    Thank you for posting this list. I have gotten a huge library of stations for Pandora for my school year! :)
    ~Ashley
    teachinginthenet.blogspot.com

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  55. Schoolhouse rock station has muppets, Disney and of course schoolhouse rock. Educational and fun.

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