Using Mozart to punish students

Posted on: March 8, 2010

A report Thursday (3/4) on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website states, “News that a school in Derby, Britain, was piping classical music into a special detention area set up to punish troublesome students has ignited a debate about the use of the pieces. The idea of using Mozart and Ravel as deterrent for the badly behaved has roused the ire of both music lovers and critics of the public education systems. Brendan O’Neill, editor of spiked-online.com, and the author of a recent essay titled ‘Weaponizing Mozart’ for Reason Magazine said the school is ‘using great achievement to whack people across the head.’ The headmaster of the school where children are forced to listen to classical music as a punishment for bad behaviour said infractions of school rules have dropped by about 60 per cent since he began the special detentions. … [O’Neill] compared the technique to Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, in which the miscreant Alex is given a therapy that makes him hate Beethoven. … But councils that use the music to deter criminal behaviour such as vandalism say it works. Psychologists also have said music can calm anti-social children.”

Posted March 8, 2010