When the music slows, the students scurry

Music between classes helps cue students to arrive on time

Last semester, Assistant Principal Jeremy Verwys began using a 60-second piano melody to help Cedar Springs High School students make it to class on time

Senior Zoe Castor said the new “tardy music” that began at her high school in November took some getting used to.

“At first, I thought it was kind of weird hearing music before class, and I wasn’t really used to it, but later it seemed to be working,” said Zoe, a member of competitive cheer and softball for the Red Hawks. “When the music starts slowing down you can see people hurry up,” she added. “It’s a reminder to get to class.”

The 60-second clip, “You Are My Planet” (Piano Instrumental) by Quiet Arrows, plays before each class. It begins loudly at a fast pace and then gets quieter and slows down, prompting  students to walk more quickly to get to their next room.

Senior Zoe Castor and junior Nathan Van Kampen said the new ‘tardy music’ implemented last November at Cedar Springs High School seems to be working

33% Reduction in Tardies

Assistant Principal Jeremy Verwys read about this idea in an education journal.

“We have been trying to find ways, as every high school is, to curb student tardiness,” Verwys said. “This, more than anything we have tried to date, has really made an impact and both students and staff have noticed fewer tardies.”

He said the data so far shows a 33% reduction in tardies the past two months using the music, compared to the first three months of school without it. “As soon as the music starts … you can see students’ walking pace pick up. While certainly not a total solution, it has been a simple step in the right direction.”

Junior Nathan Van Kampen said although he has a pretty good internal clock, the music is a good reminder to speed it up a little bit.

“I think it’s working out pretty well,” said Nathan, who’s searching for an Ivy League school and then on to law school after that. “Around Thanksgiving, they changed it to the “Peanuts” theme and we were all amused by that.”

From left, Brady Mason and Miles Cartwright hurry to class as a 60-second piano melody plays in the hallways of Cedar Springs High School

Just How Much Time Between Class Anyway?

“Five minutes between class — a perfect amount of time,” Nathan said. “You have enough time to get a drink of water or talk with some friends right before class.”

Dean of Students Mike Duffy sees the positive effects of the one-minute musical warning prior to the tardy bell. “I personally have noticed that students are on time more often as I stand in the hallways between classes.”

Duffy said at first the students joked about the choice of music, but he thinks they really like it now. “Even though my suggestions of the ‘Chicken Dance’ or ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ were not used, I, too, am beginning to appreciate the music.”

“You Are My Planet” (Piano Instrumental) by Quiet Arrows is the current “tardy music” at the high school

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Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more. Read Cris's full bio or email Cris.

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