The sounds of silence

Hey Everyone:

  • Did you know that the volume level during commercials is set higher than regular TV shows?
  • Did you know that many childrens' toys have an attention seeking “display” volume that is louder than the “play” volume?
  • Did you know that people spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to “tune out” sound?
  • Did you know that noise pollution is considered a modern day civil rights and health issue?

In an effort to attract and maintain our attention, our world is always in search of new and obtrusive ways to fill every moment of our lives with some sort of noise. Without our permission or consent, we are constantly and forcibly exposed to a never ending stream of sound. We're being attacked. We are victims of a crime. This is an "audio assault.”  Where are the police? I need to file charges!

Our world and our lives are getting louder. Louder not just in “volume” (decibels), but in volume (amount), and schools are a part of the problem. High stakes testing and accountability measures have forced schools to fill every single second with some sort of information exchange. No time to spare, no second to waste. Jobs and credibility are on the line.

From the moment a student sets foot on campus to the moment they leave, we inundate them with noise, academic and otherwise. Bells, whistles, announcements, lectures, videos, questions, answers, etc…it’s virtually non-stop. Rarely is there a time when students can just sit, reflect, and get a reprieve from all of the noise in their lives.

Except in music. Yes, the place on campus where we make the most sounds, our students are exposed to the least amount of noise.

For many of your students, music is the quiet in their lives. For 55 minutes each day they can hush their minds and still their bodies. They can disconnect with their technology and connect with their thoughts. They can relieve themselves of the burden to be funny, smart, or cool. The can decompress and briefly delay the pressures associated with school.

It’s ironic that the loudest place on campus might the quietest place in their lives, but in a young person’s world, the sound of music is the sound of silence.
Take care and have a great week!