Music and Adolescence

By looking at the extent of the music consumption in the lives of adolescents, it is readily apparent that USIA plays an important part in their lives (North, Harvested & O’Neill, 2000). Music holds the power to influence many aspects of adolescents’ lives, both positively and negatively. It can relax or energize the body, influence cognitive development, enhance self-healing, and foster both comfort and discomfort (Essence & Berger, 2006). In this paper, we will kick at the effects that music can have on developing adolescent lives, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.There are many ways in which music plays an important role in the social development of adolescents. According to Johnston and Katz 1957), music has important outcomes for the their colonization, because music and peer affiliations provide adolescents with significant social opportunities and relationships.

This preferred music of peers who are admired at this time, whether for sound or trivial reason, is likely to become the affiliating party’s choice (as cited in Miranda & Class, 2009). Simon Firth (1987) acknowledges teenage identify formation as one of the main social functions of their music (as cited in Campbell et al, 2007).Teens fill their lives with music, gather around it, talk about it, all in a spirit of sociability. High schools bear witness to many cliques who mark themselves by their music and provide a way for adolescents to identify with others, in their process of solidification (Descends 1987). Many books and articles have been written suggesting that sub-cultures form around different genres of pop-music. One factor that motivates adolescents to listen to music, are the benefits it brings with a sense of belonging With peers (North & Harvested, 1999).Music can help diminish boundaries between those of different ethnic, or social backgrounds.

(Campbell et al, 2007) One 13 year old said hat music gave her a sense of a having a place to belong, both inside and outside the walls of school. Once a group focuses on a particular style of music, its members benefit, as they have defined themselves as part of a cultural elite, and attain the emotional gratifications of belonging. (Gilligan & Gang) page 60 of Social Physiology of Music Edited by Harvested & North..One possible reason that adolescents might gravitate to particular styles of music, is as a means of helping them to define their own identities. A preference for a certain style Of music can carry a message to other adolescents, in regards to where they think they belong with their personal attitudes, characteristics and values. Studies show that adolescents use their music preferences as a way of telling others about themselves (North & Harvested, 1999).

Rock music is often a natural target of interest for adolescents, and one reason may be that it can open the exploration of emerging sexual thoughts and feelings.The beat and firm pulse associated with rock music is both safe and exciting and can create state of mind in which fantasy and one’s own body join together (Terror, 2001 Teens listen to USIA that their friends listen to, form bonds or social groups with people they want to belong with, so musical preferences become a sense of belonging for both personal and group identity (Levities, 2006). Brown & Klutz (2003) found that in adolescence, social identity and relationships undergo tremendous changes, as the teen shifts their relationship from parents to peers (as cited in Miranda & Grandeur, 2011).There is a link between this transitional time an adolescent is going through of parental protection to independence, and their desire for seeking and joining a preference culture hat serves as a connection to their maturity (Gilligan & Can). According to Larson & Ekberg (1 995), music can form an important part of the adolescent emerging from the cocoon Of familial identity (as cited in Campbell et al 2007). This function of breaking away from parents, is found in some genres of music that include lyrics that express defiance of those who are perceived to control the lives of adolescents. Gilligan & Garn).

According to Bleach, Gilligan & Weaver (1 991), some studies indicate that teens who listen to certain rebellious forms of music such as heavy metal or rap, may also be ore likely to engage in delinquent behaviors (as cited in North & Harvested, 1999). In other instances, music has also been shown to promote family bonding and communication between adolescents and parents (Miranda & Gaudier, 2010). Music can also play an important role in the emotional development Of adolescents. The power of music to evoke emotions is evident in advertisements, movies, and mothers.Music can affect adolescents emotionally at a level deeper than is possible with words alone (Terror, 2001 It is used to manipulate our emotions to deeper levels because the emotions e experience in response to music take part in the cortex; the heart of emotional processing (Levities, 2006). Music can evoke both relaxation or stimulation and can also open up channels of self-expression. For the teenager this can provide a means of coping with powerful emotions and fantasies during this critical period of development.

For some adolescents it can create a feeling of safety, where they feel free to express feelings.It enables them to connect with, and share feelings of love, longing, anger, sadness, rage, grief, longing, as well as to experience both closeness and isolation. It can give shelter to the distressed and confused adolescent. This process of expressing emotions with music, can help the adolescent to transition from childhood gratification to work on changes and dreams connected with adolescence (Terror, 2001 Self-esteem is an important part of an adolescents development and the emotional support and social approval from others can influence a child’s self esteem (Contract, MacKenzie-Rivers, Malison, & Lung (201 1).Studies show that adolescents’ preferences of music reflected an attempt to match their own self concept, with perceptions of the people who typically listen to that style. Higher levels of self esteem were also noted to be associated with adolescents identifying themselves more strongly with a particular musical sub culture (North & Harvested, 1999). Studies have shown that music can be associated with mental health issues in adolescents.

Certain genres of music have been reported to be related to risk of suicide, self harm, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and recklessness (Eking, Topology, Topology, Subconscious, & Broker, 2012). However, there is a bidirectional relationship between music preferences and mental health issues. While preference for certain types of music may be red flags for mental lath problems, it may also be true that preferring these music types reflects the real cause of the problems (Eking et al). For instance, there has been much controversy over the influence of heavy metal music and teenage suicide.A couple decades ago, two famous heavy metal bands were unsuccessfully sued by the parents of suicide victim adolescents, because their music was being played while the adolescents died. (Eking et al) Studies indicate that preference for heavy metal music among adolescents may be a red flag for increased suicidal vulnerability, but the results also confirm that he characteristics of adolescents play a more important role as risk factors to suicidal behaviors, than their musical preference (Shell & Westfield,1999).In one study, heavy metal music listeners were found to have a significant increase in positive attitude after listening to the music they prefer (Eking et al, 2012).

Other studies confirmed that, for the majority of teenagers, listening to all genres of music has a positive effect on mood (Shell & Westfield,1999). Music techniques have also been shown to be an effective method of treating adolescent mental health issues, because an adolescent’s life is in many ways, entered around and heavily influenced by music (Davis, Hendricks, Robinson & Bradley 1999).There are also many ways in which music plays an important role in the cognitive development of adolescents. According to Aren’t & Larson (1 995), music has been found to provide adolescents with a medium which to construct, negotiate and modify aspects of their personal identity, offering them a range of strategies for knowing themselves and connecting with others (as cited in Campbell et al, 2007).It is in the adolescent years, that one begins to discover that there exists a world of different ideas, different ultras and different ideas (Levities, 2006). Students claimed that they were not only intrigued by, but also thought it was important to know music as a means of understanding other civilizations, music’s role in history, or stories of composers and performers. Music was described as an asset to shaping the broader sense of themselves, and how they might use what they know to be successful in the world (Campbell et al, 2007).

It has been shown that musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about Therefore, it should be no surprise that music might enhance seasoning, motor functions, computation, auditory discernment, and coordination in adolescents’ lives (Hellenic, 2010). Studies have shown that the brain that is engaged in music undergoes neurological changes, and the findings suggest that music stimulates complex cognitive processes (T haute, 2008).The adolescence brain is forming new connections at an explosive rate, and this applies to the music heard and performed; new music connects other parts of the brain to what we were listening to during this critical period (Levities, 2006). It is interesting to note that studies have been one in people with altimeters, and although their memory loss deteriorates, many of these elderly people can still remember the songs they heard when they were fourteen!It has been observed that the reason the brain remembers this, is that our teenage years were filled with many new emotional components and our magical and neurotransmitters acted to tag these memories (Levities, 2006). According to Gigged et al (as cited in Hellenic, 2010), adolescence is a period of synaptic pruning that strengthens the connections that are used more frequently and eliminates the ones that are not; this is influenced by things in which the adolescent participates. Chemistry & Holland claim that both musical and mathematical processing access those synapses.So, the individual who is practicing music is also strengthening the neural connections that control mathematical reasoning (as cited in Hellenic, 2010).

Formal music instruction during one’s middle school years, indicates additional educational benefits for achievement in other academic areas, particularly in mathematics. Adolescence psychogenesis might present a window of opportunity during middle school for music to create and strengthen enduring neural connections in those regions (Hellenic, 2010).Barr and Christensen have noted that learning to read music involves manipulating patterns and symbols, which are fundamental concepts in algebra. If music and mathematics utilize the same general cortical areas, then the practice of one should influence the other (as cited in Hellenic, 2010). That could explain why the music instruction seems to enhance achievement in other areas such as math. According to Moran (2004), music teachers also assert that studying music fosters creativity, diverse thin king, and problem-solving skills (as cited in Hellenic, 2010).

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