Music’s magic

Everyone has a different way of studying. Some find it easier to concentrate in a dedicated study space, such as a library or desk. Others prefer to do it in the comfort of their room—perhaps while lounging on the bed or a comfy chair. Whatever the case, most people I have met all have one thing in common when they study: they listen to music.

Personally, I like to listen to music at a low volume while I am working so I have some pleasant background noise. Some people think this is bad, that listening to music while studying will be distracting or negatively impact grades. To each their own, but research has shown that there are far more instances of positive correlations between music and studying than negative ones.

Studies on the effects of music on the human brain have been occurring for a great many years. While there will most likely always be some mixed opinions on the subject, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the claim that music can improve one’s cognitive abilities.

Claudia Hammond of BBC writes that for a long time, music was believed to be beneficial strictly for young children—specifically, the music of Mozart was thought to help (this was called the “Mozart Effect”).

However, various studies have come to show that other kinds of music work just as well as Mozart’s, and not just with children. As stated
by researchers at Florida National University, music has been shown to activate both the left and right brain at once, which maximizes learning and improves memory.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, students should listen to music. “Music is an effective stress reducer, in both healthy individuals and people with health problems. Research finds that listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels in heart patients.”

So, while we have learned there is no need to just stick to classical music when studying, it does still have other helpful effects. In accordance with Florida National University, for instance, listening to classical music has been known to help many college students struggling with insomnia.

The positive effects of music go beyond the benefits we receive when we just listen to it, however. In fact, the researchers of the website “Frontiers in Psychology” state that actually playing an instrument or being a musician can have a very positive effect on your brain. Musicians, generally, have shown higher intelligence than non-musicians when it comes to verbal intelligence, general intelligence, and working memory.

Overall, it can be seen that there are many positive aspects to music in relation to the brain that most of us have probably never realized. So
perhaps the next time you are sitting down in front of your textbooks, you will consider exploring the wide world of music and finding something that could aid you in your studies.

by Breanna Adamick

The future of Broadway

With the continued presence of COVID- 19 around the world, industries large and small remain heavily impacted. Among these industries is Broadway, which has been shut down indefinitely since last spring. According to Greg Evans of “Deadline,” the shutdown has led to a 52 percent unemployment rate among working actors in the community.

However, the arrival and subsequent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines have sparked the possibility of a gradual reopening of Broadway within the coming months. However, this outlook does not come without caveats.

According to “New York Theatre Guide,” Broadway is to remain closed through May 30, 2021. The actual reopening of Broadway, when and if that is to take place, is shaping up to be a tricky process. Those working in the industry have shared what they believe to be ways in which Broadway can be further immortalized given the current state of the world.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer and lyricist of “Hamilton,” believes that “producers are going to have to start thinking about how they’re going to capture their work because in capturing it they can actually capture a much larger audience for their live show.”

Even with this knowledge in mind, there is still uncertainty among many about whether or not Broadway will be able to thrive the way it once did, at least as soon as we wish. Josie Gold, a musical theater major, shared her perspective on the matter.

“It will depend on people’s ability to follow health and safety guidelines,” said Gold. “Broadway would definitely have to make changes if they were to return this year.”

As things stand, the future of Broadway remains up in the air. However, that does not mean live performances cannot exist as we know them. Greensboro College’s theater department has already shown throughout the fall semester and with their most recent production, “You Don’t Know Me,” that live theater can continue to be a functioning art medium so long as the necessary guidelines are put in place and adhered to.

Of course, this will severely limit the overall accessibility of live theater for many people.

“Eventually live performances will return,” said Professor Jo Hall. “There may be more streaming of controlled performances until then. But without a live audience, it is not really theater.”

Only time will tell if Broadway will return to what it once was, but we should not lose hope for the performing arts.

By Nicholas Sherbine

A sugar-sweet bolt of adrenaline: Review

The new film, “Promising Young Woman,” written and directed by Emerald Fennell, strikes the viewer like a bolt of lightning. This is Fennell’s directorial debut, but one would not know that from the expert precision and singular vision she brings to the screen. Before the release of this film she was best known to American audiences as the actress who portrayed Camilla Parker-Bowles on “The Crown,” and as showrunner/head writer for season two of “Killing Eve.”

The plot follows the titular character, Cassie Thomas, portrayed by a pitch-perfect Carey Mulligan, as she tries to avenge the rape of her best friend, which occurred 10 years prior to the events of the film. This film has sparked a multitude of conversations about what American audiences expect from films that center around topics such as revenge or sexual violence, particularly because of its uncanny ability to subvert the audience’s expectations at every turn.

I also have to give credit to the rest of the ensemble cast, all of whom do phenomenal jobs rounding out the world Fennell has created. Stand-up comedian Bo Burnham plays Cassie’s friend and love interest, and while one would expect him to know his way around a comedic line, he delivers a genuinely believable and captivating performance.

What is most impressive about this film is the way every individual aspect builds to create the overall story. The pastel and neon color palettes, the pop-infused soundtrack, everything added to the sense of Cassie performing the femininity that society expects from her, even as both she and the audience know it is just that: a performance.

What this film does that no other film has is tackling the system that allows for these horrific acts from all angles. Other films that have tried tackling a rape-revenge storyline oftentimes center around a singular man and seem to have the message that once that individual is dealt with, suddenly everything has been solved. Fennell’s screenplay does not let anyone who has anything to do with what happened to Cassie’s friend off the hook.

Oftentimes, I find myself reflecting upon the films I have seen with different opinions from the one I had when I first left the theater. My uneasiness eventually turns into adoration, or my love turns into apathy, but weeks after my third viewing of “Promising Young Woman,” I still cannot wait to see it again.

By Jackie Hines