by Kenneth Justice
~Are you a teenager? Were you ever a teenager before? Did your parents ever complain about the music you listened to?
Music is a language, art, and tool that overlaps all cultures. People separated by language, who are unable to communicate to each other, are able to both understand each other’s music…..
Yet, music is so often misunderstood; right?
When the Beatles came to the U.S. boatloads of parents were outraged by the four ‘long haired’ hippies they declared as producing bad music for their children. Elvis Presley was so threatened by the Beatles that he petitioned the U.S. Government trying to prevent the Beatles from being granted visas!
The 1960’s were filled with tremendous amounts of tension between older generations and the young, and at the center of the conflict was music.
In the 1980’s bell-bottoms were gone but musicians like Ozzy Osbourne , Alice in Chains, Madonna, and others helped continue the tradition of conflict between parents and the music their children played.
“Back when I was young the music we listened to was good! It was moral! It was clean!”
Ever hear that before?
Every new generation of adults tends to take the popular music of their youth and hold it up as some type of strange standard that should be required for future generations.
Yet, the reality of the situation is that the music of our parents generation was likely frowned upon by our grandparents……right?
Isn’t that what subjective moral standards are…….subjective? Shouldn’t we be careful not to hurl stones at the music others listen to because we all have different tastes?
Music is one of my favorite topics. I have very clear likes and dislikes, but the older I get I try to keep my ‘dislikes’ private. I try not to ‘rain on everyone else’s parade’. If you enjoy listening to Kid Rock I don’t want to be the one to tell you that his music is annoying and not very intelligent…….I’ll let you figure that out on your own (please note the sarcasm in that last sentence)
So why is there so much tension between parents and their children on the subject of music? I suspect there are a number of reasons. Parents tend to believe;
—) music can affect their children’s behavior
—) certain types of music can encourage promiscuity among their children
—) certain types of music can encourage drug and alcohol use among their children
—) certain types of music can lead their children to rebellious behavior
Aren’t those the types of things we’ve heard parents say for the last fifty years? Aren’t those the types of things that parents in the 1960’s complained about when the Beatles and other British Invasion bands came to the U.S.?
So is it true; does music affect our behavior negatively or positively?
One particular church I attended for a period of time was a little overly obsessed with classical music (not that I hate classical music). The majority of leading families in the church listened to classical music almost exclusively and while that is fine……I wondered if it somehow disconnected those families from the culture.
Don’t we need to listen to the music of our culture to stay in touch with our culture?
If I only spoke Latin and refused to speak the languages of my culture (English & Spanish) then wouldn’t that completely disconnect and isolate me from the people around me?
That is how I feel about music; it is a language, it is an art, and it is a way to connect with people around us. When we only listen to one kind of genre I believe it puts us at risk of being disconnected from large segments of society.
Isn’t that why so many parents are disconnected from the their children; they don’t know anything about the music of the youth?
I love music. I love old bands and I love a lot of newer bands and musicians. I try to stay current with all sorts of genres but I also like to stay connected to the past with the musicians that I love.
I’m not obsessed with being relevant……but I don’t want to be irrelevant.
As a writer I believe it is essential to understand the culture you are living in; if you are disconnected from the Arts of your culture than as a writer you risk ceasing to be able to connect with your reader.
Yet at the same time we don’t want to become so focused on the here-and-now that we lose our connection with the past…………Balance is important.
Isn’t that the problem with so many of our young people today; they are imbalanced. They don’t have a balanced perspective on the here-and-now in relation to the past…..in relation to history.
I love music.
In the summer when I’m happy I listen to Bob Marley or the Beach Boys
In the Autumn when the weather is cooler I listen to Nirvana and Vivaldi
In the Winter when its cold and dreary I listen to NIN and Offspring
In the Spring I love to crank up 80’s and 90’s pop……..
I love all sorts of music. I listen to different music when I’m in different moods. And I don’t ever want to be that parent who says to their child, “your music is awful! You can’t listen to that! You can only listen to the music I like!”
No, I don’t ever want to be like that………I think I’ll have another cup of coffee now,
Categories: Culture & Society