School Appropriate Songs

Listening to music during the school day is a fantastic way to motivate young learners.

True, right?

School-appropriate songs can serve many purposes including providing instruction, getting attention, or even calming students’ nerves. Music maintains student engagement and helps with behavior.

Music can aid in transitions, signal the start or end of a work session, or even amp kids up for a new lesson or project. Check out this complete list of popular, classic, and even little quirky school-appropriate songs and you’re sure to be the teacher of the year!

Motivational Songs

teacher and students dancing in school

Whether you are getting your class amped up to take their end-of-the-year exams or celebrating their accomplishments at a pep rally, these well-known songs by their favorite artists are sure to be a hit.

  1. One More Time – Anthony Ramos
  2. Roar – Katy Perry
  3. The Git Up – Blanco Brown
  4. Cha Cha Slide – D.J. Casper
  5. Happy – Pharrell Williams
  6. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
  7. Dance Monkey – Tones and I
  8. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  9. Counting Stars – OneRepublic
  10. On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons
  11. Pompeii – Bastille
  12. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  13. Party In The U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
  14. Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  15. Tell Me Something I Don’t Know – Selena Gomez
  16. Music Is Healing – Florida Georgia Line

Songs For Young Kids

young kids singing in class

Especially when it comes to young children, music is a fun way to help students feel welcome in their classrooms.

Kids can build friendships and learn school rules through music.

These songs have child friendly lyrics and are so catchy, that you’ll be singing them all day long!

  1. Let’s Get Fit – Jack Hartmann
  2. The Three Little Pigs – The Kiboomers
  3. Phonercise – Dr. Jean
  4. Down By The Bay – Raffi
  5. Pirate Baby Shark – Pinkfong
  6. Peace Like A River – Elizabeth Mitchell
  7. Sharing Song – Jack Johnson
  8. 10 Little Dinosaurs – Super Simple Songs
  9. Kindness – The Juicebox Jukebox
  10. Wheels On The Bus – Cocomelon
  11. Basho’s Alphabet – Basho & Friends
  12. Super Hero – Patrick Stump
  13. Your Library – Ludwig Van Drake

Songs For High School Students

high school student with headphone listening to music

High schoolers prefer listening to music that represents their own personality and interests, however, as educators, we must ensure that the music we play is school-appropriate.

High schoolers appreciate popular tunes or even enjoy the radio edit of their favorite songs.
  1. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars
  2. Riptide – Vance Joy
  3. Old Town Road – Lil Nas X And Billy Ray Cyrus
  4. Some Nights – Fun
  5. Me! – Taylor Swift
  6. Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  7. The Chicken Wing Beat – Zilly Zil
  8. Infinity – James Young
  9. Everything’s Good – Phil Good
  10. You Are The Reason – Calum Scott
  11. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

Instrumental Songs

teacher music lesson in school

Just because a song is instrumental doesn’t mean it is classical! These catchy songs have no lyrics, making them easier for you to use because you won’t have to consider the content of the songs. Many of these are familiar tunes that your students will get a kick out of hearing!

  1. Chariots Of Fire – Vangelis
  2. Lullaby Of Birdland – Ray Conniff
  3. What Now My Love – Herb Alpert
  4. Green Onions – Booker T & The MG’s
  5. Wipe Out – The Surfaris
  6. Telstar – The Tornados
  7. A Fifth of Beethoven – Walter Murphy
  8. The Happy Organ – Dave “Baby” Cortez
  9. Sweet Grapes – Marion Meadows
  10. That’s The Way Love Goes – Norman Brown
  11. A Million Dreams – Taylor Davis
  12. Beyond The Waves – Ann Licater
  13. Yarabi – Balla Tounkara
  14. Hand In Hand – Tony Ellis

Classical Songs

students group singing in school

Classical songs are often integrated into school music curriculum programs. Students gain knowledge of classical music works including the composers behind the song.

Playing songs while students are studying for a test can help them to focus and retain more details.
  1. Voices Of Spring – Strauss II
  2. The Four Seasons: Spring – Vivaldi
  3. Fur Elise – Beethoven
  4. The Magic Flute: Overture – Mozart
  5. Bolero – Ravel
  6. The Girl With The Flaxen Hair – Debussy
  7. Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy – Tchaikovsky
  8. Berceuse In D-Flat Major, Op. 57 – Chopin
  9. Moderato – Maria Kliegel
  10. Sleep – Max Richter

Songs From Movies

little with headphones in white background

As a parent and a teacher, my go-to when it comes to music selection for my children is soundtracks.

Playing soundtracks from popular children’s movies, such as Frozen or Moana, takes the guesswork out of determining whether it is child friendly or not.

  1. The Family Madrigal – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz & Encanto Cast
  2. There’s Nothing Holding Me Back – Shawn Mendez
  3. Zero – Imagine Dragons
  4. Let It Go – Idina Menzel
  5. You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Randy Newman
  6. Accidentally In Love – Counting Crows
  7. Learn Me Right – Birdy and Mumford And Sons
  8. Something That I Want – Grace Potter
  9. Shiny – Lin-Manuel Miranda
  10. I’m Still Standing – Taron Egerton
  11. You’re Welcome – Dwayne Johnson
  12. Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flats
  13. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Tori Kelly
  14. I Need You – Germaine Franco
  15. Friend Like Me – Will Smith

Throwback Songs

listening to music image

Not all oldies offer clean song options for the classroom, but many of the songs do!

Have a decades day and play some old hits from the 1940s, 1950s, or beyond. From The Beach Boys to Michael Jackson, your students will appreciate these former pop hits.

  1. September – Earth, Wind, And Fire
  2. Respect – Aretha Franklin
  3. Take A Chance On Me – ABBA
  4. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
  5. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  6. Dream On – Aerosmith
  7. More Than A Feeling – Boston
  8. Have You Ever Seen The Rain – Credence Clearwater Revival
  9. Help – The Beatles
  10. Keeper Of The Castle – Four Tops
  11. Twistin’ The Night Away – Sam Cooke
  12. I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Jump In: There’s more to me than meets the eye (or in this case, hits the ear)! Get to know me more — About Me and My Classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

What songs are considered school-appropriate?

School-appropriate songs vary depending upon the age and school climate of the students you are working with. Overall, school-appropriate song choices should be free from foul language and should not reference any adult themes such as drug use, illegal activity, or mature content.

What are some school-appropriate songs for 2020?

There are several popular songs from 2020 that are appropriate for school. Adore You by Harry Styles and Blinding Lights by The Weeknd are two examples of appropriate songs for 2020.

What songs can you play in class?

Depending upon school policies, instructional purposes, and your administration, you should be able to play a wide range of school-appropriate music as long as it is age-appropriate. Integrating music into your lessons is an excellent way to get the attention of your class.


Playing school appropriate songs in your classroom can enhance learning while brightening the overall school climate. My school played the song Happy by Pharrell Williams at our kindergarten graduation ceremony a couple of years ago and it was such a fun song choice!

You can play songs in your classroom as background music or to promote student participation. Pop songs or even songs from well-known soundtracks are sure to engage learners of all ages.

Last Updated on July 24, 2022 by Emily

Emily/ author of the article

Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.

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