Tuned In? Teachers, students debate if music helps or hinders students’ efforts

By Aubrey Caruso 2011

While teens are increasingly humming a happy tune while plugged into their iPods and music players, they may be singing the blues when their report cards come out in a few weeks.

Some say listening to music while doing schoolwork can be creating a distraction, but others seem to hold their own opinion about this situation.

“I think for some kids it can be helpful for staying on task, but for others it’s too distracting,” science teacher Susan Considine said.

Some students agree that it is up to the individual.

“I think it all depends on what you’re doing. Some schoolwork requires more attention than others,” student Stephen Poe said.

Since all students learn and comprehend things differently, maybe music isn’t playing a role on how kids complete their work.

“I think music can motivate some students to get their work done,” math teacher Linsey Fletcher said.

While music players are now banned from some school classrooms, students still have the option of listening to music while studying at home, and that may be affecting students’ homework grades.

“When I study, I can’t listen to music. I think people assume they’re still learning while multitasking, but really their full attention is not dedicated to their studies,” student Sarah Kress said.

Some teachers agree. “I think it has a deleterious effect. I don’t think students can multitask. Academically, students cannot manage music and schoolwork at the same time,” English teacher Scott Lawrence-Richards said.

Quality of results is not the only impact that music may have on schoolwork.

“I think that it takes longer for students to get things done. It’s creating too many distractions, and they have loss of concentration. They can get work done, but it is more efficient without music,” world language teacher Melissa Breddin said.

In the end, students get to make the choice on how they mix music and schoolwork, and they’ll have to judge whether the results are up beat or just a decrescendo on GPAs.

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