Anglican Samizdat

January 19, 2010

Classical music used to punish school children

Filed under: music — David Jenkins @ 10:05 am

Detentions are not what they used to be:

Detentions where pupils are forced to listen to classical music are an effective deterrent against unruly behaviour, a head teacher has found.

Brian Walker, head at West Park School in Derby, runs the two-hour detentions, featuring Elgar, Mozart, Verdi and Bach, on a Friday after school.

Pupils on their third official warning that week can expect to attend.

When I was in school things were much tougher: we were forced to listen to John Cage. It was so agonising, some of my friends cut off their own ears.



  1. My nomination for most punishing is the Symphony No. 3 in D minor by Gustav Mahler, written between 1893 and 1896. It is his longest piece and is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire, with a typical performance lasting around ninety to one hundred minutes.

    Comment by Steve L. — January 19, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  2. Actually, three hours of Mozart minuets, or unaccompanied Bach violin/cello works, would be worse, as after a while they’re a bit samey. Actually, I found Mahler’s 3rd one of the easiest to get into (past tense, because Mahler was very trendy circa 1971). Aren’t the 2nd and 8th equally long, Steve? If 3 is the longest, I hadn’t noticed …

    Comment by John Thomas — January 19, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  3. John, That came to mind since that was my first CD I bought and I was quoting Wikipedia, but from another site:
    “According to Guinness Book of World Records, the longest symphony, Victory at Sea by Richard Rodgers, is 13 hours long!”
    But that would involve staff overtime, locking them in overnight and feeding them military mystery meat sandwiches.

    Comment by Steve L. — January 19, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  4. I have a friend who used to drive a school bus full of grade seven and eight students. She would have the radio tuned to the rock and roll station, unless the kids got too loud, and then she would turn on the classical station and play it very loudly.

    Comment by Kate — January 19, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

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