Listening to music during class should not only be allowed, but encouraged



Listening to music in class allows students to tune out distractions and focus more on their work.

William Chastain, Staff Reporter

Listening to music during class was always a risky move, especially back in middle school, when it seemed like the only goal of the teacher was to snuff out the students with one AirPod in their ear listening to popular rap music. But what these administrators who make the “no music during class” rule don’t understand is that music helps students perform better in class.

The same rules apply in high school, where the pressure to perform is even more intense and the distractions we faced in middle school are amplified due to the more intense stress and higher stakes. For example, going on your cell phone in middle school isn’t a huge deal and the long term effects are minimal. But in high school, getting distracted by a notification can mean missing an assignment and getting a poor grade. The “no music during class” rule was already unwanted by many students even before the pandemic, but with social distancing having been implemented across the country, the demand from teachers for students’ undivided attention is more difficult to comply with.

School through Zoom is challenging, to say the least. Distractions are everywhere when class takes place on a computer. There are chatting services, social media, YouTube videos, Reddit and video games available to students on technological devices. It’s these distractions that make completing work on time and succeeding in school much more difficult. Every computer application that isn’t school- related becomes a distraction during distance learning. When it comes to staying focused in class, it’s necessary to have a way to tune out distractions. Some students use a different computer than their personal device so as to avoid the many distractions that come with having non-school related applications installed on their computers. Some students uninstalled most of the distractions on their computers, while others have had their parents step in and install parental control programs onto their computers, which is something many dreaded as young kids but find somewhat necessary during these times. But the most successful and common tactic as far as I’ve noticed, is listening to music.

Going back to middle school, listening to music was risky, but in my case, necessary. I have always had trouble focusing in class due to my Attention Deficit Disorder. Listening to music served as a tool I could use to tune out distractions and focus on my work. When I sat down in humanities class to write an essay, instead of constantly being distracted by a weird looking cloud outside or some kids making noise in a physical education class, I was able to turn on a relaxing song and bust out six paragraphs, with little to no distractions and breaks. As someone who has struggled with staying focused, I can say that listening to music is an excellent way to cope with these problems.

Although it may seem like listening to music is yet another distraction, it isn’t, when used properly. But the question remains, how do we utilize music in an effective way, to tune out distractions, while not allowing it to distract from the task at hand? Well, the general rule is to only listen to music when you’re doing independent work, and to turn music off when listening to lectures or completing group work. As for the type of music, something calm and relaxing is preferred since you’re trying to tune out distractions, not create a new one. Following this rule allows a student to tune out distractions when necessary and focus better when completing independent work.

Grinding out work can be challenging when you’re getting pinged in Discord or when you get a Steam invite from a friend, and music can provide a diversion that allows you to focus on work while allowing part of your brain to wander freely. Of all the ways to avoid distractions in class, music is the easiest and most effective, and therefore our school should encourage and allow it during class.