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Music to their Ears

Year 12 student hunter Doyle unwinding listening to his favourite tunes

From the Deputy Head of College, Patrick Brennan

Parents and teachers alike battle with the dilemma of allowing boys to listen to music whilst studying or indeed during class time. A recent study I came across sheds interesting light on the benefits of music in terms of academic performance and student wellbeing.

For Waverley College students suffering from academic anxiety or pre examination tension, their Spotify playlists might be just what they need to alleviate stress.

An intervention designed by University of Queensland’s School of Psychology teaches teenagers how to use their own music listening habits as a way of managing emotions and achieving their best in school.

Our students on average listen to 18 hours of music a week, which enhances their emotional, cognitive and psychological well-being, according to the study.

The Tuned In Academic program helps teens discover the types of music that are good for increasing motivation, decreasing anxiety, and improving focus among listeners.

It is designed to help high school students in Years 10 to 12 manage their anxiety about exams and other academic emotions, such as post-result depression and rumination.

Mission Australia’s 2016 survey of 21,846 young people, aged 15-19 years found that the top two issues of concern were coping with stress and school or study problems.

Around four in 10 respondents indicated they were “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about coping with stress and school or study problems.

Anxious students worry about their performance, which takes their concentration away from the task at hand, such as assignment writing and exams, resulting in performance levels lower than their capabilities would predict.

Tuned In Academic has been adapted from Dr Dingle’s Tuned In program which builds emotional awareness and regulation among both at-risk and mainstream adolescents.

“From Tuned In we learnt that young people feel comfortable sharing their music and can easily learn the emotion self-regulation strategies in the program.

“Tuned In Academic aims to extend these strategies to deal with emotions such as anxiety and stress that can get in the way of young people’s learning and memory.”

The key for our boys is to determine which of their playlists help them relax, concentrate or even release endorphins so they can be best used during appropriate times, whether this be before an exam, after an exam or at times where they may be feeling bogged down with the stress of modern life as an adolescent boy.

Happy listening!