Music: the universal language


Kira Williams, Writer

From generation to generation new and original music is created and listened to across the globe. Thanks to the digital age people everywhere listen to different genres on a variety of apps, ranging from iTunes Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora to Youtube.

Whether you’re doing some last-minute studying while listening to the latest Ed Sheeran album or just some light reading while tuning into one of Katy Perry’s hit singles, you love music. So what do students here at Bellows Free Academy listen to, and how do they get the music they listen to?

According to an online poll conducted on Dec. 20 through Jan 8, 16% of students favor Rock music out of a total of eleven different genres and total of 52 responses.

74.5% of students say music helps them study, 19.1% of those students who listen to music while studying listen to Pop music. The second most popular genre of students who listen to while studying is Country at 10.6%.

Although nearly three quarters of students said music helps them study, on average students said only 4 out of 7 teachers allow them to listen to music during in-class study time. Students may often find it hard to resist pulling a pair of earbuds out of their pockets and tuning in during classes they know that they aren’t allowed to listen to music in.

On the final survey question, students were asked whether on not they approved of teachers playing music out loud. Students seem opinions are split down the middle. Those who approve of this like music out loud argue that it helps them focus, those who oppose it say it’s distracting and they wish they could have more control of what’s played.

Sophomore Zach Willett has opinions on whether or not teachers should play music aloud for the class when doing bookwork.

“Totally, because people are always putting in their earbuds and when a teacher calls on them they don’t hear them and end up getting in trouble and students end up getting the blame. It would be a lot better for students to have their teachers play music during class,  so they don’t get yelled at and when the teacher needs to get the students attention they don’t have to worry about them “ignoring” them,” Willett said.

Teachers often play music out loud when students request to listen to music on their phones during study time but fear the students will misuse their electronic devices during this time.

However, if it is study time and a student decides to send a few texts or check Facebook, then they are only hurting themselves by choosing not to use the study time for the intended purpose.

Other students such as Silas White (‘20), thinks teachers should allow students to use their own earbuds or headphones when it is appropriate.

“It [using headphones] would be a lot better so I can focus more. Music means a lot to me during school, if I don’t have it I get sidetracked and don’t get a lot of work done. I don’t really like when teachers play music out loud, unless it’s like Christmas music or seasonal music otherwise not everyone likes it…” White said.

For students looking to study recommends peaceful harmonies such as Classical music or Ambient Sounds. However for those of us who prefer something a bit more upbeat, a second best option recommended was New Age or Electronic music.

Perhaps more important than what genre is played, is the volume the music is played. Listening to music at the maximum volume can be distracting you from your reading. However, a very loud class can distract you from your work just as easily.

According the Music in School survey conducted, 48.1% of BFA students say they sometimes listen to Ambient Sound music or music without vocals when studying.

Another helpful tip provided by for studying is to set a playlist; this reduces distraction and allows you to focus. Apps without ads or prolonged pauses between songs decrease distraction and would be best for studying purposes.

Overall, the most common apps students at BFA use to listen to music in order are Youtube, Pandora, Spotify and iTunes.

Many students say they use Youtube to discover and find new music; there are plenty of one to two hour videos that play music without interruptions for enhanced studying.

As the recently deceased Tom Petty wrote: “Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”

It is no wonder that teenagers worldwide love music, and there are plenty of BFA students who have music as a central part of their lives.