Distractions and confusion are everywhere in the world, yet seem to be most prevalent in the classroom. Without focus and drive to learn and work, even the best of students end up faulting. Educators, on the other hand, blame it on the easiest of targets, phone usage. Although, these same teachers also fail to realize the endless distractions that are prevalent within the average classroom such as paper shuffling, whispering friends, doors shutting and closing, and even announcements. Each sound, however insignificant, causes a slight advert in the attention of a student. That plus their lack of a sufficient night’s rest magnifies the problem to a greater extent.
Under-slept, these students worry more about their next class, or next week’s tests than the texts or games on their phones, as some may assume. Also, many students may “goof” off in class just to try and lighten their spirits before getting home to another pile of homework. Maybe if they actually enjoyed the atmosphere they were in, it wouldn’t be so hard to get to work. So all in all, students find it hard to listen in class because of the uncomfortable aura created by their anxieties and inability to appreciate and enjoy their time in school. But what if there was a way to connect students together all while helping their mindset and ability to focus? You might be surprised to hear that such a complex problem might have such a simple solution as music. Music can not only help with shifting the center of attention of a student, it can also help them connect and create an overall better tone in the classroom.
Study after study has shown the benefits of listening to music at school as a tool to help students focus better. So why have many teachers disregarded this? Their ever-so-favorite silence is not going to benefit students as it only creates more room for distractions and intrusive thoughts of other classes. It’s a teacher’s job to “carefully prune” the atmosphere for learning in a classroom, much like a “bonsai tree” to best suit the learning needs of their students.
Music can also be an outlet for some who are struggling since it may erect feelings of happiness or excitement. In the poem “First Love” by Jennifer Franklin, the author writes about accepting the loss of her first love. Not an easy feit, but one detail in the poem caught my attention: “Afflicted by my kindness, they leave me with my music.” This young girl found solace within her music, away from those things that were troubling her. Music can also be a way for someone to express themselves. Through the music they hear, students can find inspiration to use in their studies and broaden their perspective, increasing their imaginations. Music is all about creativity and tapping into a new side of yourself, one that as Blair Somerville in the short movie “Lost and Found” would describe as “life inspiring you” to “be creative and experiment.”
In conclusion, maybe music isn’t itself a distraction, but rather an antidote for other distractions. This is why I urge students and teachers to consider the power of music and not to knock it until you try it.