Last week we were driving in the car and I turned on a CD, Tchaikovsky. Suddenly, my son started to scream: “No shut-up music PLEASE!!!” I was surprised to hear that, and I looked at him: “What?” He actually liked classical music before.
“Yes-it’s shut-up music!”- he continued. “They turn it on at school during lunch and when they do that we have to be quite and say nothing. All the kids hate that! “
Well, a few days later my husband and I visited our son for lunch at school. And really that was it – kids were excited and loud, they ate, and talked, and laughed, and made a lot of noise (which is natural). BUT! Every 8 minutes or so, classical music came on and the kids had to be silent. I saw many unhappy faces during this “classical music time”. And right after the music was turned off, the level of loudness rose quickly like the buzz of bees in a hive as the kids tried to compensate for the silent time-they were as loud as they could be. I don’t know how to comment that. In general, I was very surprised to know in that in American school there is almost no breaks between classes as it is in Russian schools (each 45 minutes -5, 10 and 20 minutes breaks “peremena”- crazy running and talking time). Here in elementary school, for the seven hours kids spend at school there is only one recess for 20 minutes outside on playground and lunch break for 30 minutes where kids have to take a “quiet break” each 8 minutes. Kids are expected behave in the hall as well on the way to playground and cafeteria, which mean to silently walk in a single file line. I understand it is comfortable for the teachers, but what is about kids? Probably the intentions were good: to introduce classical music to kids while they are eating…but, clearly, it had the opposite effect.