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Editorial: Music in Class

With all the technology in the classroom nowadays, should music be added to the mix?The way I see it, there are 3 options: always in the background, never, or only sometimes.

According to Elana Goodwin’s article posted on https://www.uloop.com/news, “Do or Don’t: Studying While Listening To Music,” she believes that “…listening to music…can be beneficial as it improves attention, memory, and even your ability to do mental math…”. This practice is commonly called the “Mozart Effect”. The catch is, the music we listen to at this time is no longer just soothing Mozart, but other types of music, so the outcomes may not be the same. In my written survey of 22 fellow 7th graders, 11 wrote that if given the choice, they would listen to pop and other current hot songs. So having music always in the background of the classroom chatter may not be the best decision, depending on the type of music being played. And that introduces a next heated topic, who gets to decide the songs?

Personally, I believe the students should choose the playlist. They are the ones who have to listen to it, and they are the ones who the “Mozart Effect” is intended for. English teacher Mr. Conway allowed me to pass out the already-mentioned survey to his 3rd hour Honors class. 19 out of the 22 students marked the option “students should choose” the music. I agree wholeheartedly. I also believe that music always being played is not the way to go. In my opinion, music should be a rare treat and only played sometimes during class. Listening to music part of class leaves plenty of time for the teacher to get through the lesson plan and cover important content.

Let’s go over the deal breakers. Music always playing in the background may be distracting to some students, so it’s probably not the most favorable solution. Some may argue that turning music off and on is also distracting, and we should not bother with music at all. Kelsey Cooper, a student who participated in my survey wrote, “…Students might take too long to pick the songs and not have enough for class work.” That would only be an issue if kids were allowed to bring their own music devices, which brings up the next question, should students listen to music individually?

“Yes,” 7th grader Elle Dotson wrote, “Students should listen with headphones.” 4 students added in their answers that though they prefer when they are allowed to listen by themselves, the music should be school-appropriate and teacher-approved. This, in my humble opinion, is the perfect choice. We all have chromebooks now, and if teachers let us, I’m sure most students here at Greenfield would be delighted to listen to music during quiet time, especially Christmas music!

(Thank you Mr. Conway and his 3rd hour class! Results to the survey below!)

When should we listen to music in class?
2 students said “all the time”, one said “never”, 18 said “sometimes”, and one wrote under “other”, “Anytime you want.”

What types of songs would you listen to?

9 students chose calm, classical, non-distracting music, 2 students wrote “anything clean/school appropriate”, and 11 students put down that they would enjoy almost any pop or current hot song.

Who should choose the music/songs?

1 student chose “the teacher”, 19 students chose “the student” and 2 chose the option other. “If its independent work, the student should choose. Any other time, it is the teacher’s choice,” wrote one. “Both, the teacher and the student,” wrote another student.
Do you want music in class?

19 students said “yes”,  one wrote “no”, and two admitted they didn’t care.

By Becky Wood

Picture Credits The e-Learning Classroom

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