Is Music Beneficial to Students?

Have you ever wondered if music affects students’ performance? After asking around, I had my first interview with Mr. Normandin and his opinion on music in his classroom. For my first question, I asked him if he allowed students to listen to music that was in their headphones or if he played music for them. “Here’s the thing: studies show that while kids or students do work, they cannot focus on the lyrics and their work simultaneously. So I prefer them to listen to music without lyrics because there’s nothing else for them to focus on. So, in which case, I don’t typically let them listen to music, but there are occasions when I will play music when students are coming into class” said Mr. Normandin. I can understand his point; there are some students I know who do this to block out teachers.

After visiting Mr. Normandan, I traveled to Miss Hopkins’s class to interview her. During work time, she allows her students to listen to their music, and if they don’t use their headphones she plays classical or just general background music, as well as when class starts she plays classical. I asked her if she thinks music is productive and helpful for students, and she believes it is, but she highly prefers it if headphones were off during her time of instruction. Which is fair, students do come to school to learn. Following up on the last few questions I had, I asked her if she would ever let her students play music, and she does! She has a snack day, and as long as it is school appropriate, they can play their music. I then asked her if she had a favorite genre of music and she replied with rap, but she doesn’t play it around her students.

To get both sides of the argument, I interviewed students as well. One of the students I interviewed was a freshman, Alex Snow. To start with, I asked her what her favorite genre of music was, and she replied with rock. I then asked her what her favorite artist was, and she told me the Theory of a Deadman. Another question I asked was, “did any teachers restrict you from listening to music in class?” She said she wouldn’t name any names but the majority of them wouldn’t let her listen to music at all. I then asked her if she would change that at all, and she laughed, telling me “Of course, I would.” Another question I had was if she believed for all her classes that it wasn’t dependent on their behavior that they couldn’t listen to music, it was more so just the teacher’s rules. Finally, I asked her if she had the option to AUX in her classes what song she would play “Medicate” – by Theory of a Deadman.

Another student I interviewed was Oliver Stacey. Oliver didn’t have much to say, he’s pretty neutral when it comes to music, one of the only things he could come up with was that he didn’t understand why Mr. Stark didn’t allow music, it helps him and a lot of other students focus. Another thing he brought up was, he would play anything, as long as it was something that he could listen to. One of the last students I chatted with was freshman, Kai Young. Kai typically likes angry music. They listen to artists belonging to indie/alternative pop, EX; Melanie Martinez, Metallica, The Oozes, and more. They did add that their listening to music is dependent on their fellow students. And finally, when I asked what they would play over a speaker, they said they wouldn’t play a song because people would “Call them emo.”

To see how other schools deal with music, I asked a Sophomore student from out of state about their restrictions. The person I asked was Samayah with the Clovis Unified School District, in Oakland. I asked her about her favorite song/genre and such, then about the limits. When talking with this student, they hadn’t mentioned much about the guidelines but from how they mentioned it, the school they attend isn’t super strict. This student enjoys listening to R&B and Alternative. Examples are Sohodolls, MGMT, and Marina & the Diamonds. They explained that the artist’s songs explain topics important to our everyday life today, which is a big part of why they enjoy their music. On another note, I mentioned the restrictions and they said that most of their teachers are pretty lenient when it comes to music, as long as they’re free to listen to music how they’d like. However, 3 teachers don’t allow it. They said they didn’t mind that some of their teachers didn’t like them listening to music “It is what it is.” I then asked them if it helps them focus and they said that it does, but it’s also fun because it helps make their silent class time more enjoyable. After a few moments of thought, this student admits that listening to music in some of their classes is a privilege and that it does get taken away sometimes because of student misbehavior. For my final question, I asked them what song they would play if they ever had the AUX for their class, they said either Little Dark Age or Mary on a Cross.