Pandora: Free Internet Radio

Pandora is a free internet based radio. It is the product of the Music Genome Project. All you need to do, is visit the site, enter the name of a song, artist or genre and the Music Genome Project data base will start. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then you can select a track to listen to.

If you access Pandora on your PC/Mac you don’t need to set up an account but if you access it through your iPad/tablet you will need to set up a free account. The Pandora apps for iPad and Android are free too!

So how can you use this resource in education? There are many applications. You might research different music genres, ask the students to name the instruments, sort similar genres or describe the different styles of music. If you play relaxation music to your class you may choose to use Pandora and not have to worry about using CDs or listening to tracks from YouTube. If you teach Religious Education you might even use some of the contemporary style prayers from stations such as Christian Contemporary or Christian Rock.

There are some negatives for this resource for education though. Firstly, the free version is supported by advertisements. Secondly, their music license forces them to limit the number of tracks you may skip each hour. If you skip tracks too many times and you want to hear something else, you can try creating another station starting with a different artist or track. Thirdly, you can’t download any of the tracks. If you are looking for free music to download you may need to use Jamendo or Free Music Archive.

Lastly, the Pandora service acknowledges that there may be explicit content including strong language or depictions of violence, sex or substance abuse. However, if you are using Pandora as a teaching tool, not a tool for students to use, listen before you play and enjoy this free music resource.

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