Thursday, 2 July 2009

Music in schools.

Ask any of my teachers to read my handwriting and I assure you that they will fall to pieces in front of you. This is becuase I have the handwriting of an arthritic 80 year old man (probably). And because of that - I get to bring my infamously slow laptop into school. Well I did when I was in school anyway. I also used a word processor in most of my exams.

It was a very good idea. I would do the work, then go home and print my work off, then put it in a folder. At first I did this and all was well. But as time progressed, I began to do the work then not bother printing it. Then I found a great loophole in the 'school rules'. By being quite sneaky, I was able to listen to music in about 50% of my lessons. I would listen to what I had to do, then as soon as the task was set, I would be fishing a cable up my arm and sneaking my inconspicuous ear bad over and in to my ear.

And then I started doing more work in those lessons. As long as I was listening to music, I was focused and I was working. But the second the headphones were gone, I was zoned out and couldn't be bothered to do anything. Seriously. I think that if I hadn't listened to music in my tech lessons, I would have sat in the exam like a vegetable, pondering over what a potato was.

I did have to be careful though. In French, History, English and Law I didn't even bother trying. My French teacher was dead against it, my History teacher was always talking and if you weren't careful he would easily catch you out and make you look like a prize fool. For even having your earphones out in English you would be hung, drawn and quartered by the stalinist English teachers. And I could have in Law, but I actually needed to listen seeing as I am absolutely terrible at it.

But in Tech, Geography, Science and the rest I was able to sit quite casually and listen to my music. I even became so relaxed in Tech that I brought my massive Sennheiser DJ headphones in one week and she didn't care.

So I pose the question. Should music be allowed in school? I say yes. But I reckon that every teacher out there is saying; "No way! Disadbantaged kids might get jealous of expensive iPods and things might get lost or stolen." Well to give a blunt response: Bullsh*t. I and many other pupils have carried MP3's, phones and whatever around school now for 5 years and never has there been the threat of things being stolen. Why? Because EVERYONE has a phone or MP3. Even the poorest kid can buy a phone for £10 and an MP3 for a fiver.

Music has been proven to inmprove focus. Folk music calms you, metal gives you a rush (as does D&B), pop gives you a feel-good factor and R&B provides poetic lyrics. I spent the majority of last year listening to folk and acoustic music and I think my work was better in that year than the year before.

I can see problems though. Everyone has a different taste of music. I live for folk and acoustic. I know lots of people who would rather eat a lamppost than listen to folk. A friend of mine thinks Radiohead are a dreary, depressing group of wrist-slitters. But I think they're the best thing that happened to the 90's (well, apart from Blur, Oasis and The Verve...oh and Stone Roses). This could cause tensions I suppose. But who cares? No two people like the same music (apart from those stupid 13 year olds who write "I like a bit of everything" on their Facebooks. No you don't like everything. You're probably the sort of person that thinks James Morrison qualifies as acoustic. Stupid person!) and that is something that you have to live with.

If/when I become a teacher. I will actively encourage kids to bring music in. And to those who don't like music? Well you're odd and can sit in the corner.

Viva la Musica!

1 comment:

  1. I used to teach ICT, and I was all for allowing students to listen to their music players in lessons. I had a few rules - if I needed to say something then earphones came off, if it was loud enough for me to hear it was too loud and I didn't want to see people sharing headphones.

    I saw students feel more relaxed, and work a lot harder. I think it helps students feel more engaged, and actually care more about the work they're doing.

    And besides - music is inspirational. Surely it encourages more individuality and expression within work?