Effects Of Music On Adolescents Essay

2102 words - 9 pages

Effects of Music on Adolescent Behavior Music is universal. In every culture, we express ourselves, particularly our thoughts and feelings, through music. It surrounds people and its broad usage closely relates to people's daily lives. Music is especially important in the lives of adolescents. It is influential to their identity and helps them define important social and subcultural boundaries. Music has the power to make someone aggressive, relax, and create a feeling of happiness or sadness. Yet, it is also believed that the effect of the music is determined by the person's state of mind. Music is central to youth culture. According to Kathleen O'Toole, "music alters ...view middle of the document...

#2). Author Peter Kivy argues, "Someone who is moved by music does not simply replicate the emotions that the music expresses; sad music, for instance, does not move listeners primarily by arousing sadness. Rather, a listener responds emotionally to the beauty or perfection of the music" (Maus 2). Country and western music has been associated with suicide. Mary Ballard and Alan Dodson say, "Country music emphasizes lyrics while de-emphasizing melody and tonal complexity so the songs generally tell a clearer story than rock songs do. Antisocial and depressive lyrical themes such as alcohol and drug use, promiscuity, sexual infidelity, and sadness are common in country music" (qtd. in par. #7).Music such as heavy metal and rap are said to promote violence because their violent lyrics may cause listeners to become more aggressive (Ballard McNamara par. #6). Heavy metal can be described as rock and roll with an especially overpowering beat, extreme amplification of guitars and other instruments, and lyrics that are often screamed rather than sung. From the listener's standpoint, the lyrics are secondary to the loud guitar driven music and may be difficult to comprehend. Heavy metal lyrics often have themes of alienation, retribution, angst, and antisocial behavior. The lyrics may contain references to sex, drug use, suicide, Satanism, and violence (Ballard Dodson par. #11). It has been claimed that metal music describes problems of life, but does not offer any solutions. This sometimes causes metal fans to increase their aggression and prompts them to commit acts of assault and vandalism. A well-known psychologist from Durham, Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, said that "music can influence a person's state of mind." In her studies she found that "if people listen to music that is faster than their heart rate, such as heavy metal, it increases their heart rate" (par. #4). Heavy metal music by increasing the heart rate of its listeners can be seen as a form of exercise or physical release. Not only is the heart rate increased, but the pulse and blood pressure are also. When this happens, the listener gets excited and they lose judgment. Sometimes it may cause the listener to destroy or damage things around them without any reason (Storr 57).Roe and King, child psychiatrists at the University of Iowa, examined the effects of heavy metal music on adolescent's social behavior. These studies show that many adolescents who thought seriously about suicide and abused drugs listened to heavy metal, but they showed no direct connection between the music, lyrics and these actions (Storr 58). Adolescents use music most to control mood and enhance emotional states. Music can make a good mood better and allow us to escape or work through a bad one. It can also be used to enhance some bad moods, which has led some to believe music lyrics about suicide and violence against women have occasionally led troubled youth to commit suicide or violent crimes. M...


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