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Should Students Be Able to Listen to Instrumental Music During Class?

One of the most debated topics by students across the country seems to involve what is acceptable in the classroom. In recent times, electronics such as computers and phones have been approved for use in the classroom as long as they are used for educational purposes. This is especially the case in colleges; many teachers allow students to use their laptops in order to take notes in class. It seems that electronics have successfully been integrated in academics for generations to come. However, one topic that has sparked controversy is the issue of allowing students to listen to music during class. Both teachers and students have debated for years on whether or not the positives of listening to music outweigh the negatives.

One of the biggest reasons that students argue for the integration of music into the classroom is that it has been scientifically proven to enhance learning. Studies show that students that listen to instrumental music while studying have increased attention, memory, and ability to do mental math. By allowing students to listen to music in class, it is believed that their overall learning should be increased immensely. Going off this reasoning, people also believe that students should be able to listen to music during tests, with the belief that students should perform better than they would without the aid of music.

The problem is how music should be integrated. One way that this could occur is by having students wear headphones and listen to instrumental music through one ear, while listening to the teacher through the other. The main problem with this is that there is no way for teachers to monitor exactly what a student is listening to at any time. If students were able to listen to their own music during tests, they could instead exploit this and use this to cheat. A student could listen to the answers being play over the headphones instead of the music they were supposed to be listening to.

Following this train of thought, it is important to distinguish which music actually helps a student. Instrumental and classical music are the only types of music that have been shown to help a student learn. Songs with lyrics have been shown to actually produce negative results on a student’s learning. This is especially the case when it comes to memorizing; students tend to be confused by the words spoken in the song that is being played. Since teachers have no way of monitoring what a student is listening to without taking class time to check, it seems that this approach to integrating music into the classroom is less than optimal.

The other option is that a teacher will choose the music to be played through speakers throughout the classroom. This way, that teacher can make sure that the correct music is being played and ensuring that everyone is listening to the same thing. This practice has been shown in some classrooms already, of which being my Italian classes throughout high school. Whenever my class had a test or quiz, my teacher would play Italian music quietly in the background. This action had its positives and its negatives. For some, it helped students to relax and focus during the test. On the other hand, it also caused people to lose focus and sometimes even sing whenever certain lyrics came up in the song. For me personally, I found the music to be a distraction, however I did do well on all of my quizzes and tests, so I couldn’t complain. I think the biggest problem with this strategy is the music that a teacher plays. Sometimes, if the students do not enjoy the music that is being played, they could find the music to be nothing more than a distraction.

In the end, I believe that there isn’t a right way of incorporating music into classroom. Whether you allow students to listen to their own music or have the teachers play music themselves, there are still glaring flaws that could reduce a student’s education experience. If a better solution can be discovered, I am all for adding music to classroom. But until then, I don’t believe that they have place in the modern classroom.

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