Music can evoke emotions
You can actually change your students mood by just playing the right music. Perhaps something lively for after lunch lessons or end-of-day sessions. Or maybe some easy-listening after recess for younger pupils.
I like to play music for a breath of fresh air after grammar activities which are normally the hardest or sometimes after intensive reading comprehension exercises. I would recommend that you have a playlist handy. You can do this by choosing your best soundtrack or preferably ask the students which is their favourite song of the moment or their favourite song of all time. They feel more connected when it is a song of their choice but make sure they are present when you play their song!.
Also they can add to the listening task a little bit of conversation practice by telling more about the song (why they picked it up, what they like about it -lyrics, music, story, any particular piece or something about the singer or songwriter, etc).
What I normally do is ask the group during the first weeks to send me a link to their favourite songs in YouTube. Then take the time slowly to download the songs, label them with their names on it, and keep them in a safe place ready to use anytime!
You don’t necessarily need to make much preparation in advance. Just play the clip impromptu and use the songs as fillers in-between tasks, as listening tasks to learn the new vocabulary and expressions on the video clip, or just as a 3-min listening for pleasure exercise to refresh and reset minds. Some videos are real masterpieces, like this song I am delighted to share, which a student suggested and everybody loved. Turn the lights off and the volume up for greater impact!
One other good musical alternative exercise is a Storytelling mediation activity where students are asked to pick up one song and do some research about the story behind the song, like the iconic The Bodyguard’s soundtrack I will always love you which was originally written by Dolly Parton about the end of a professional career.
More on Emotional responses to music here
La vida, sin prisa