The Up and Down Beats of Hallway Music


As students scurry back and forth through the hallways, hurrying to their next classes, one sound can be heard over all the hectic voices and footsteps—the hallway music. Administrators implemented the hallway music recently, just about the end of last school year. 

“It is just an attempt to help kids get to class on time and, you know, make the school day a bit more fun and interesting,”  explained Assistant Principal Aidan Vigil, who is in charge of the music.

It’s true, music can have a positive impact on people. It can affect both the emotions and the body. Upbeat music is known to cause positive emotions, such as optimism.  According to, listening to music helps you release more dopamine, a chemical that causes you to be happier.

However, what music you like can be highly subjective. A common student complaint is that the music played during passing time is outdated, and students can’t relate to it.

“People would like [the music] a lot better [if it was] a genre that they’ve heard and like. I think that would help me be more energized,” 8th grader Noelle K. explained.  

In fact, according to Embark Behavioral Health’s website,  music can also change your mood dramatically in a more negative way.  For example, listening to songs on repeat, sad songs, or songs that you personally dislike can all impact your mood for the worse.  

Another complaint I’ve heard in the halls is that the same songs are played every day. It can get somewhat tedious, having to listen to the same playlist over and over again.

“The hallway music is extremely repetitive, and I’ve been hearing the same song, like, every single day, and it’s kind of annoying. It needs more variety into different genres,” described 8th grader Entisar N.

Administrators have said they are happy to take recommendations, but the music has to be school appropriate and approved, which takes some time. 

Another part of the slowdown on new music is that the Longfellow sound system is very outdated.  It uses CDs, so new songs need to be downloaded and burned (copied) to CD. Computers no longer come with CD drives,  and streaming services discourage downloading. Instead, administrators have brought in music from their own collections.  Mr. Vigil uses his old college computer to burn the discs, and the music he had in his library at the time, which is why a lot of the playlists consist of songs from the 2000s and prior. 

New music is getting processed to put into the playlist, but it takes a long time. Vigil must look up the lyrics to make sure they are school appropriate, find a way to download the song, and then burn it to CD. It is a long operation. This causes the playlist to change very slowly.

Meanwhile, if any students have a recommendation for hallway music, they can mention it to the school administrators or the front desk attendants. Even better, they can burn songs onto CDs and give the CDs to Mr. Vigil, who is in charge of the music. However, the songs must remain appropriate for a school setting, or they’ll never make it to the halls.