Violences in Music

Music's Effects on People and Culture

This is a republished article from March 8, 2005

I've been around for 15 years now and nothing has puzzled me more than the effects of music on people, especially teenagers. It seems that music, more than anything else, ties people together and tears them apart. It seems that you can tell a person's taste in music solely by the way they dress or act. Why does music have such effects on people? Why is it music of all things that dictates how we talk, walk, and dress? Now, I'm sure there is some ridiculously complicated philosophical answer to this question, but I don't know it. So I ask, Why does music influence our life more than, arguably, anything else?

I think of this question every time I see a person with dark punky clothes on or huge white t-shirts and extremely baggy pants. These people are probably influenced by music. That is our assumption here. It's an interesting effect because when you see a person with punk-type clothing, you automatically think, "Boy, what punks," or, if you're a punk yourself, "ROCK ON!" But why is this?

I truthfully do not know the answer. Is it because music is the only thing that is constant in our lives? That music is the only thing that is the same about everyone? No matter what type of music you listen to, you're still listening to music. And nearly all humans listen to music. This might explain why music affects people so much because if you express yourself the way musicians are expressing themselves, then nearly everyone on the entire planet will know how you're expressing yourself so there is perfect clarity in how you want to be viewed as a person. So is this some type of inner, subconscious workings of the brain?

Music has an effect on every single aspect of some people's lives. Let's take rap. Some kids who like rap talk like rappers, dress like rappers, eat like rappers, and treat women like rappers treat women. Is it because they're influenced by what they see on TV or here on their favorite rap artist's album?

This also brings an to light a new problem.
Stereotyping. People do this all the time but don't even realize it. I do. So if you see someone with punky clothes on, you automatically think they're punks? This is also an interesting effect of other types of media like the news and MTV.

What about the people who like a variety of music types?
Well, I honestly can't answer that or any of these questions.
I listen to a lot of different types of music.
Does this mean I'm very rounded, or weird, or just don't put a lot of value in music? Depends on who you ask.

This reminds me of another point. Have you ever noticed that people who like the same type of music tend to hang out together? I'm sure you've seen an instance of this before. Is this because they have something in common in music, or because they are wearing the same clothes? Or is it because they think alike? And if this is it, then are their ideas alike because they listen to the same type of music?

The reason I wrote this article is just to present some questions that you may not have thought of before. It's been bugging me, too. If you want to discuss this, just contact me at your leisure. I'll respond.