The downfall of Spotify at PUSD: How does music impact student learning?


Yatin Bayya

Spotify offers discounted premium subscriptions for students, providing access to a vast music library and exclusive features tailored to enhance the student listening experience.

Recently, Spotify became blocked on school Chromebooks, with many students using it to listen to music while doing work. However, there seem to be both benefits and drawbacks to listening to music while doing work as sometimes it can help students focus and other times it can be distracting.

Listening to music can help students with recalling information as it can help students associate memories or whatever they are doing to what they are listening to. There are also other types of music that claim to boost concentration by playing a certain vibration or relaxing ambient sound effects.

“I do use music while studying or doing homework because I feel relaxed and I am able to focus more. It depends on different types of people, some people find it better [with music] and others find it better without, and some people can focus better with music,” said Lalith Sasubilli (‘25).

In 1993, researchers conducted an experiment to see whether listening to classical music would improve test scores, and they found that it resulted in higher performance, so they developed a theory called the Mozart Effect. However, another experiment came out later called the Blur Effect, which concluded that listening to pop music gives even better results since kids enjoy it more. 

It is not necessarily about the type of music that leads to better performance but the mood that the music puts us in because it can reduce stress levels and eliminate boredom by giving some excitement during long study sessions.

“I am not really sure how much listening to music benefits me for focusing, but it does help me get motivated to start my homework,” said Shlok Sharma (‘25).

Music with lyrics tends to be more distracting than instrumental ones as it can drive away focus, making it hard to listen to while doing work that involves reading and comprehension. Studies show that music that is loud and fast decreases performance the most.

“I don’t think that all music is the same. I think that some music can be helpful, and other music can be distracting. If you have study music that works for you, then that is great, but I assume [the school] is banning [Spotify] because 90% of people don’t use it for studying. In that case, I understand,” said English teacher Daniel Kennard.

The best way to find out how beneficial listening to music may be is to try it out during the late nights studying or last minute cramming for a test since the results can vary person to person and genre to genre. Despite the evidence backing up the benefits of listening to music, did the school make the right decision in blocking Spotify? Or was the concern for potential distractions justified.