The William H. White Library Study: How Students Respond to Construction Symphonies

Guy Wall ’18

As many of us know, studies have shown that the greatest way to create a productive period of studying is listening to classical symphonic masterpieces such as the works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, or even Yo Yo Ma. However many students have come to believe that the librarians at Woodberry Forest are conducting a new experiment in the William H. White Library with one integral question: How do the sounds of construction act as a stimulant to a student’s mind?

At 10:45 AM while a student is studying in the library, he might be so lucky as to take part in this groundbreaking experiment. The stage is set as a perfectly quiet place to study, his books are out, and work has begun. Then as he begins to focus harder and harder a crane from outside drops a load of drywall and plaster causing a loud crash, signaling the beginning of its symphony. Keeping to the metronome of the hammers, the power tools inside begin their perfectly accented melody. Lacking the necessary bass drum, the work on the AV center below the main floor shakes the building so that the audience may feel the power of the music. The composition of art is underway. Louder and louder the sounds grow, but suddenly they stop.

The Grand Pause in the music allows the student to focus once more, or so he thought. The conductor was not finished. The harmony of vacuum cleaners, school laptop fans, and pick-up trucks adds to the crescendo until at once the crane drops its final blow, and the piece is over.

Ignorantly the student once again believes that he can focus on getting his work done. Oh! How foolish he must be. This is no studio recording; this is the live version. The ensemble leave their instruments in order to talk with their crowd. After the cheers, compliments conversations with the magnificent orchestra, the curious librarians turn to the student to collect the data necessary for completing their experiment. Unfortunately he is gone, nowhere to be found.

For now we must assume that he left because the sounds of the symphony made it so easy for him to focus that he finished all his work, and he could not bear to hear the rest for it would simply dull his senses for the next time he needed a period of such intense focus. Alternatively, maybe he left because the sounds were so damn annoying and he had to finish his humor article.

Categories: Humor