“This is so hard for me…to find the words to say. My thoughts are standing still. Captive inside of me, all emotions start to hide and nothing’s getting through.” These were the words going through my mind during an Advanced Placement Spanish final exam. Instead of writing a powerful essay on international commerce and economy, I was stuck reciting the words to a song by progressive metal/hard rock band Dream Theater. Unfortunately, the same song served as the background music to every one of my finals for the rest of the week.
The reason the song was stuck in my head was that I can’t stand the oppressive silence that comes when I have nothing interesting to do. I’m sure other students feel the same way. That’s why so many of them walk to school with black or white headphones plugged into their ears, trying to fight the boredom that can come from a simple walk to school. In fact, Stuyvesant students are so reliant on their favorite songs that some dare to walk around school with a lone earbud snaking its way through the neck of a hoodie and into their ear.
Because students can distract themselves and others with their music during the school day, countless schools across the nation have implemented policies against the possession of mp3 players while on school grounds. But these intolerant policies are attempting to stop the inevitable, as students cannot be separated from their desire for music.
The ever-evolving technology of mp3 players such as Apple’s ubiquitous iPod—now more popular than ever—effectively makes the ban useless. Allowing people to access thousands of songs in the subway, at home, in the library, and even at school, iPods never allow for a dull moment. Due to mp3 players going nano and nano-er, all the while increasing in music capacity, our daily dose of music is readily available and easily taken for granted.
If mp3 players and music were allowed into school once more, the atmosphere would become much livelier. Teachers could confiscate them from students who use them during class, as they do now. However, for students with free periods and nothing to do, music can provide a useful diversion. It eliminates the need to roam the halls, which can interrupt classes. Headphones ensure that the music will not disturb others, and a ban on speakers is understandable. The ban on loud music players makes sense; the ban on music altogether does not. As music can now become an individualized experience, with no effect on others, it should be allowed back into Stuyvesant. Sometimes we are preoccupied by it at inopportune times, such as when writing an essay, but the distraction is worth it; music is here to stay.