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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Influence of Music

Positive and Negative Effects of music on Children and Adolescents
 BY Jeremy Wight
The sound of music envelopes society wherever individuals go. Music is played on the radio, in cars, on the elevator, on television and in our homes. We play music at parties as a source of entertainment, sing to our babies as a mode of relaxation and even rap lyrics as a mode of expression.
There are many forms of music – classical, rock, rhythm and blues and hip hop – just to name a few. It has become such a large part of our lives and the effects of music have been studied for many years. Music's impact on children and adolescents is examined. Evidence will point to music having both positive and harmful influences on the minds of children.
There exists a prevalent notion that music can improve a child’s intelligence. Researchers have studied this and utilized the term the “Mozart effect” which states that there is an “…increase in brain development that occurs in children under age 3 when they listen to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
Many parents believe that music, specifically classical music, increases the intelligence level of children. 
Studies have also stated that music helps strengthen spatial reasoning and sensory motor skills. (Rauscher, Shaw, “Musical training facilitates cognitive skills, including reading, abstract spatial abilities and creativity.” (Riggs, 3) Children enjoy dancing when music is played or playing instruments while moving to the beat. This enables children to use their senses and motor skills simultaneously, which further develops gross motor coordination.
Music can also soothe the child's psyche. When a child is feeling anxious, depressed or stressed out, counselors and psychologists have suggested to parents to play soft music to their children to help decrease their anxiety level. 
Certain types of music or more specifically, violent lyrics, are believed to have a negative impact on adolescents. Studies have shown that the violent lyrics in rock music have contributed to youth violence. Eighteen-year-old Phillip Morton hung himself while listening to songs “Goodbye Cruel World" and "Waiting for the Worms," from Pink Floyd play in the background. (Watkins, 4) With the high strung guitar, vibrating drums and destructive themes playing, rock music can increase the mood of the individual listening to it and promote anti-social behaviors.
In terms of hip-hop music, sexually explicit lyrics and mounds of profanity exuberate through certain hip-hop songs. This can have a negative impact on the thoughts and feelings of adolescents. Some theorize that listening to it for long periods of time or in solitude by placing headphones on, this music can further damage the psyche of these young, impressionable minds further desensitizing their attitude towards sex.
As one doctor stated, parents “… cannot stop the onslaught of sexual images from music but that they must prepare their teenagers with a healthy self-esteem to have the tools to “resist and even rise above the sexual stereotyping and degradation.””  In order to overcome these negative influences, parents must police the music their young ones listen to.
Overall music, albeit melodious in tune, can have both positive and harmful effects on children and adolescents. As parents, we must assist in their growing personal development by monitoring the music that our children listen to.

Comment on the Blog and answer the following questions in your notebook!

*What kind of music (not mentioned in the article) do you believe to be a positive or a negative influence on                 youth?
*What music listen to and why?
*Do you think parents should get involved in this matter?
*Do you think music should be approved by someone before it is put in the market?