April 24, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Renowned rabbi discusses the role of religion in American policy -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass baseball haunted by missed opportunities in 8-5 loss -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Transcendence’ a fumbling cautionary tale -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Freedom of speech for campus employees -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Veep’ continues to be one of the smartest comedies around -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Noah’ a sinking ship -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter: A response to ‘There is nothing to debate about global warming’ -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Push for punishment equality -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass baseball lacks aggressiveness, misses opportunities in loss -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Police Log Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 20, 2014 -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass student spends spring break studying sustainability abroad -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014: A day to remember -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass baseball falls short in second straight Beanpot final -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fashion faux-pas to fend off at music festivals -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The meaning of Easter -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Is Beyoncé a ‘fashion queen’ or just The Queen? -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Protect Our Breasts holds Earth Day Yogathon -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass holds annual Native American Powwow -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Israel a hub for diversity -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass rowing earns five first place finishes on Friday, two on Saturday in weekend action -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Sound of Silence

Every time I walk into an exam, I’m always entertaining the same question in my mind: why can’t students listen to music while taking exams? Sure, there’s always the possibility that someone can record the entirety of their testing material and play it back on their iPod, but, putting this aside, I think listening to music during tests could be beneficial rather than detrimental.

People hold different views on the matter, but that could be because they haven’t tried listening to different types of music (or music at all for that matter) while doing their schoolwork. Thus, they prefer silence. For some including myself, silence can be distracting. I do my best work when I’m listening to my music, which is entirely instrumental, like the band Explosions in the Sky. The absence of lyrics prevents me from getting distracted and the instrumentals keep me focused. But obviously not everyone listens to instrumental music. If someone wants to take a calculus exam while listening to Katy Perry, or tackle a philosophy exam while listening to Immortal Technique, then I say all the power to them.

If not everyone enjoys listening to music while doing schoolwork, how then, could a policy of listening to music during tests be instated without disrupting the classroom or the students’ GPAs? Professors could try to restrict the students genres of music to whatever they deem appropriate, like strictly classical and instrumental, but how then could those restrictions actually be enforced?

It’s not as though you could pre-screen everyone’s iPod before the exam. Even if a professor did so, what’s to prevent a student from switching from a professor’s suggestion of Mozart to Pearl Jam? It would be very difficult unless the professor distributed preloaded iPods containing only “acceptable” testing music. Such an effort however would be absurd for obvious reasons. Then perhaps they could rely on an honor code – that anyone who brings an iPod to a test must abide by a certain criteria, for example, the volume has to be low so that no one around you without headphones is disturbed. Still, it seems that there are too many factors to be considered and no way of regulating such a simple thing as listening to music. It appears that unless some prominent, open-minded, carefree and innovative professor comes along to present this case to the administration with a lot of support, I think it’s safe to say this won’t be happening anytime soon.

It’s unfortunate too, because music is an incredibly powerful tool, and I genuinely believe in its ability to ease stress and improve focus. Whether or not that can be applied to a classroom setting has yet to be determined. But alas, at least students can still do homework to sweet sounds.

Taylor Schlacter is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at tschlact@student.umass.edu.

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