Should students be allowed to listen to music during class?

In an Instagram ( poll of 155 VHS students, the majority said that they listened to music during class. Graphic by: Alejandro Hernandez

Alejandro Hernandez

Students and teachers explain their positions on earbuds during class time

Does music distract students or help them concentrate in class? According to an Instagram poll (taken from of 154 VHS students, 86 percent of respondents (132 responses) said they listened to music during class time, while 14 percent (22 responses) said they did not. Similarly to cell phones, in class music listening is not subject to any school wide policy or prohibition. It is up to individual teachers to decide whether or not students can listen to music in the classroom.

Junior Morgan Hirschhorn is in favor of students being allowed to listen to music during class time. Hirshhorn said, “It [listening to music in class] can help focus when doing individual work but when the teacher is talking it distracts me.” 

This is supported by a Stanford University study, which found that “music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention.” However, the study was performed using classical music. According to one report, listening to music with lyrics impaired reading comprehension.

Senior Zacharias Lopez said, “They [people who listen to music during class] might be distracted if they have both headphones in or maybe they didn’t want to learn in the first place.” 

VHS Math teacher Pierre Chamaa said, “If you’re listening to music you cannot pay attention to what the teacher is telling you.” According to a Google Forms poll of 31 VHS teachers, 32 percent of respondents (10 responses) think that music distracts students, 36 percent (11 responses) do not think that music distracts students and 32 percent (10 responses) have no opinion.

VHS English teacher Elizabeth Mainz said, “I love music! It can help me concentrate and focus on a task, especially reading or writing, and I assume it can have the same effect for other people!” Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

Lopez said, “But it’s not always music distracting students, it could be something else. There are days when I can’t learn because my mind is distracted by noises from outside the classroom or even thinking about other things.”

VHS Agriculture Business Pathway teacher Amy Lewandoski said, “For certain activities it is fine– however the constant use, especially when studying can create a handicap in retention on tests where music and headphones are not allowed, such as on State tests.” According to a Google Forms poll of 31 VHS teachers, 36 percent of teachers (11 responses) don’t allow their students to listen to music during class, 32 percent (10 responses) do and 32 percent (10 responses) do, but only sometimes.