Let me start off by saying, I never really knew or understood how music can help someone learn. I am not huge on music as I am hearing impaired. However, I don't let my hearing loss keep me from doing something that may be beneficial to students. After all, our lessons should be geared towards student learning right?!
I have started incorporating music in my unit plans. I did not realize it would be a big hit and help students retain and understand novel information. I had originally compiled music videos as a way to make the lesson or novel entertaining. After I had the playlist for Of Mice and Men playing in class, students asked if I could play it again after we discussed the music and how it ties into the novel. An example: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? - this is geared towards the Great Depression and how people did not have money to spare. This song launched into a discussion of today's recession and ultimately leading back to Of Mice and Men and how the men need to migrate to find jobs so they can earn money.
Below are playlists geared for three units - The Odyssey, Of Mice and Men, and 1960s-1970s - I use songs for poetry when covering this time period. For the 60s-70s, I use songs that focus mostly on the Civil Rights Movement and the War in 'Nam.
Enjoy, these are visible to the public on Youtube, so feel free to use!