Students should be allowed to listen to music in class

Do you listen to music when you feel stressed? When you are sad? Or even when you just want to party? How many of you listen to music while studying or doing homework? Why then, can’t we listen to music while we are working in class? The ASL policy isn’t clear about this.  Kids in the Middle School should be allowed to listen to music in class.

You may have noticed that in the Policy Handbook, under General Rules, ‘Technology & Mobile phones, there is no specific mention of music.  We are not allowed to watch videos or entertainment. The policy says tech “should only be used for educational purposes and with the teachers permission.” So could listening to music while working be educational?

Eighth-grader Evelyn Snizek listens to music in math class. Many classes allow students to listen to Spotify or YouTube. Listening to music while completing class work has helped students and improved their productivity (photo by Casey Johnston).

You can find lots of research on how music affects people. Many studies show that listening to music can keep you focused by taking your mind off of distractions.  If you have a social issue or family problem that causes anxiety or stress to you, music can be a great way to calm down and cheer up. And being in a positive mood is an important part of absorbing information. A recent article in The Guardian, by Dean Burnett, called ‘Does music really help you concentrate?’ tells us that listening to music you like, can keep you motivated and enthusiastic for your task.

An article in The Guardian from 2016 suggests, “Music is a very useful tool in such situations. It provides non-invasive noise and pleasurable feelings, to effectively neutralise the unconscious attention systems ability to distract us.”  As said, music helps with paying attention and not losing focus. Many use it for this purpose when needing to work on a task which uses lots of your concentration. “Students of all ages–that includes adults– generally find that music helps them focus more clearly on the task at hand and puts them in a better mood for learning,” says Chris Brewer, founder of LifeSounds Educational Services and author of the new book Soundtracks for Learning.

It’s true that teachers may have a problem with students listening to music while working, as they may get distracted when it’s time to tune back in to the lesson. They may be concerned with the use of devices in class because they could be used to cheat or socialize.

We could solve that by having a sign that teachers use (for example putting both hands on ears) to let the class know when it’s appropriate to listen to music, and when it’s time to stop and bring attention back to the class. To avoid using music through devices, we could create playlists that are curated by students through voting and pre-approved by staff, and which are available on the ASL website, that students can tune in to directly. 

If you think that Drake can help you get better grades, you may be right, and perhaps it’s time to let students become an active part of updating the ASL policy, and our approach to music.

About Emma Talit ('24)

Staff Writer

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