Student Music Choices: What Are We Listening To?

Student Music Choices: What Are We Listening To?

Zeta Orphanide, Staff Writer

A rather well known fact between students is that music is essential in order to pass a school day. Music is a controversial topic in schools, mainly for that reason that teachers and parents alike believe that music distracts students from learning to their full capacity. Most highschool students can agree that without listening to their favourite playlist while studying, you wouldn’t get them to focus even if you paid them too. The concept of music is one of the most curious out there. With over 1,300 genres in the world, and a series of underlying sub-genres, music is one of the most diverse communities in the world. It differs based on each person, there are multiple different versions of a tune in different styles, languages, or beats. In this age, music is so diverse and easy to access, that it is accessible to anyone within the reach of an instrument, or an electronic device. Music has the power to allow students to focus through multiple different methods and different adaptations.  

Music has been proven to reduce student stress. This factor is perhaps one of the most essential and popularized reasons to listen to music while studying. We all know how stressful school work can become, especially when your work varies over eight different school subjects and can take up to 4 hours a day. This includes the 8 hours we spend in the school environment. According to the Florida National University, a study done by Cambridge students proves that music, especially hip-hop, have been proven to provide an uplifting effect that can help them accept, manage, and deal with their mental health issues. This factor is often overlooked by school management while they desperately try to cram in that extra quiz, the last unit, or that one unnecessary standardized test; when you find yourself spiralling down a rabbit-hole-like mindset that is often dictated by the lack of breaks and overbearing pressure to complete everything, I suggest you spend some time to formulate a playlist that works for you. 

The power of music has been proven to improve cognitive performance and memory. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you feel as though you’re in a coma-like state? A moment where you begin listening to your favorite artist while completing schoolwork and suddenly, you snap out of it, only to find that your work is finished and you hadn’t even realized?  According to FNU, background music aids you to improve your performance on cognitive tasks. A study found by the same organization proves that music allows students to complete more tasks in a smaller amount of time. Simply make sure that the music you’re listening to has a positive effect on your mood. Music serves as a potent trigger for memories. A study done by Petr Janata shows that music and memory are linked. He played a series of nostalgic songs based on each students’ childhood, and was able to show that the students remembered certain moments of their childhood that were linked to a certain song. Next time you’re studying for a test, make sure to crank up your favourite songs. This will allow you to associate certain words, lyrics, patterns or melodies, with things or events you have surrounding that song.  

A questionnaire conducted within our journalism class has shown that most students have a dedicated playlist to listen to when studying. The class’s music choices varied from instrumental pieces, to lofi, to even video game soundtracks. Most of the songs had quite a few things in common. The featured songs mostly revolved around a calming melody, or simply a downturned song. From playlists made up of Coffee Shop Ambiance or Rainy Nights, all the way to a compilation of Bo Burnham, all the songs had the ability to center your mind on the task you are trying to complete (it is currently being tested). With the same approach, I have been able to conduct a separate list of song suggestions that the students listen to. The playlist labeled ‘Student Radio’ is made up of purely student approved songs that please them, whatever that genre may be. The list is made up of multiple different genres, decades and personalities, pulling together an effective playlist to ease your mind and lift your spirits. 

On a conclusive note, I would like to challenge teachers and students alike to listen to music when completing work; as it has been proven successful by the former studies, and is very beneficial for anyone’s mental health. Music aids us to concentrate, lift our spirits, and even promote cognitive success and memory. Let’s promote the benefits of listening to music inside school and out, in order to have a positive and successful learning environment.