Music has been an integral part of life of young people from the past and even among the modern youth music plays a critical role in their day to day life. This report aims at identifying the effects of popular music on the education of young people’s life while evaluating the differences between popular music preferences based on race and identity and its effect on the education of youngsters.
There has been many studies conducted evaluating the effects popular music and its effect on school curriculum and one such research is Boal-Palheiros and Hargreaves, (2001) which was conducted in UK and Portugal collecting responses from 120 students. The research of Boal-Palheiros and Hargreaves, (2001) was primarily based on the youngsters in 9-14 age group where it evaluated the habits of listening to music as a leisure time activity at school as well as at home. The results indicated that music is considered as a prominent leisure time activity by the older kids in the sample, where they indicated a moderate positive attitude towards popular music. However, the research revealed that the motive of listening to popular music by youngsters at home and school differs significantly, where listening to music at home is attached with emotional moods and social relationships where as listening to popular music from school is concerned with motivation to learn in a particular subject and being active in the classroom. Hence, research of Palheiros and Hargreaves, (2001) explains that there is a positive effect on popular music on the education of the young people’s life as it is used as a mechanism to generate motivation for learning activities in the classroom. In another research done by Lamont et al, (2003) primarily based in UK, following findings were revealed. The research was conducted involving both students as well as teachers where 02 surveys were conducted namely pupil’s music questionnaire targeting students aging from 8 to 14 and teachers interview to gather information from teachers of those students. In the research, not only students but also teachers indicated a positive attitude towards music and its effect on the school curriculum and it was acknowledged that that there are barriers to the education created through music as in every good practice there can be constraints as well. In the research of Lamont et al, (2003) it was revealed that music makes up a significant part of life of a modern student where importance of music in curriculum was emphasized more than previous researches conducted. It was also stated that patterns of listening to music varies significantly from school to home where listening to music at home was considered as robust activity which is transitory for some youngsters in their adolescents. Findings of Lamont et al, (2003) about popular music and its effect on student’s education is in line with the previous research done by Palheiros and Hargreaves, (2001) proving that there is a positive effect on popular music on the education of the youngsters. In identifying effects on the education of youngsters, Perry, (2002) reveals that students of Fernwood consider music to be a reflection of who you are and mirror of subconscious of them. They consider music to be the deepest reach of emotions in their mind which can explain their soul to others. These factors indicate that music has a very significant impact on the education of youngsters as it plays a major role in thinking patterns of youngsters. In another research by Southgate and Roscigno, (2009) involvement of music in the academic achievement is evaluated using 03 measures namely, involvement within the school, outside the school as well as parental environment. The findings revealed that the involvement of music during academic tasks varies from student to student depending on the class and gender. The survey has revealed that using music during academic tasks can help the student excel in mathematics and reading skills. However, Southgate and Roscigno, (2009) again argues that even though music does some level of mediation of background conditions for students, at times it can be at minimal level due to certain reasons.
In analyzing the effects of music on the day to day activities of the classroom, it is identified that popular media has changed the way in which teaching is done when compared to 1960s-1980s. According to Rampton, (2006), new media is changing the way in which the student interacts with the teacher. In Rampton’s study in 2006, he explains that there is a significant change in the life style of youth due to television and the other media used and it has caused changes in the technologies that are used the class where teachers have started using modern media equipment such as TV in aiding their teaching process. It has given a positive impact on the learning process of the student while creating more interactivity in the classroom.
In analyzing the effects of popular music and its effect on the education of youngsters, culture, race and the identity plays a major role. The preference for music among students differs from race to race and it can be demonstrated as follows. Radano and Boholman (2000) explains the relationship between race and the music as race lives in the house of music so that music is full of racial connections. They explain that the popular music is so attached to the race of its listener and the singer, where singers and listeners reflect the values of their race through listening to particular type of music. As explained by Perry, (2002) White American youth likes to listen to music where the researcher has found out that first preference of all respondents was same form of rock and roll where second preference was given to a similar form of country rap and R and B which was specific only to White American. When the researcher asked for the reason why they like the specific kind of music, respondents were not able to provide an answer other than that is what they are used to listen to, indicating that it has been a part of their life style and now they listen it as a habit which they do not want to change. However, race does not play a major role in liking towards some types of music such as rap. In the study of Perry, (2002) it is explained when white students are assigned to popular cultural forms derived from African American and Latin Urban cultures; they tend to change their taste of music to suit the gang of students that he is interacting with. In Perry,(2002)’s example, Matt has started listening to rap music as it made him look like “cool” and sound like “tough” among his peer groups at school. Matt explains that in all rap songs, singers talked about themselves and it had made Matt imagine it as himself in that position which made him feel cooler and tougher in his perspective. Sullivan, (2003) has conducted a research to identify the perception differences in Black and White youth in Midwestern city. Results of the survey reveals that when it comes to rap music, racial differences are minimum, and youth from both the races tend to listen to rap music often. However, when examining in detailed, Sullivan, (2003) found out that even though White Americans youth listen to rap music with a favourable sense, African Americans are more committed to rap songs and considers rap music to be more life affirming than it was perceived by White American youth. It was concluded in the research of Sullivan, (2003) that in selecting rap music, race does not act as a differentiator; however, commitment towards rap music varies significantly depending on the race of the youth. However, the study conducted by Hakanen and Wells, (2003) states that the ethnicity and the race does not play a major role in choosing music by young people which is contradicting with the findings made by Perry, (2002).
Identity of youth is another factor affecting the choice of music among youngsters and its impact can be analyzed in following manner. According to Frith, (1996) popular music reflect and represent the people and their way of life and in examining social identities, a problem in encountered where there is no means track the connections back from the work to the social group who produce and consume the life style music. In choosing the popular music, the racial identity plays a major role which is explained through the following response. Leisure activities such as music are a significant component in defining the youth identities in studying life styles of youngsters and youth peers group identities are moulded through style, language and music they use. (Dolby, 2001) Youngsters use variables such as taste of music in building their group of peers and they develop social boundaries not to allow students with different taste joining their unique peer group with unique taste of music. In the study of Dolby, , Themba an African at Fernwood explains that they are a unique race behaving in the same way, locally and internationally and they are proud to have similarities where they all prefer the same sport and same kind of dress. These Africans are well known to adopt similar practice, icons and commodities in their routines life which are drive by affective investments. Accordingly, Indian students also behave in the same manner when they make global presence for their race. (Dolby, 2001) At Fernwood, Africans listen to music such as rhythm and blues, slow music such as Whiteney Housten. Similarly, White Americans at Fernwood prefer the heavy metal music where as Indians takes an approach more close towards the Black Americans. At Fernwood, teachers use popular music to connect students to engage in classroom activities and effectiveness of it is questionable as teachers do not understand that the preferences of music varies according to the racial identity of students. As an example, when Dolby,  conducting the research at Fernwood, there was a class teacher who used popular Alanis Morrisette music to get the class to engage in the lesion. However, class comprised of 90% of Africans and teacher failed at her attempt to connect the class to the lesson as the song was completely ignored by the class as it was labeled as white music and not listened by Africans. It also emphasized the fact that students are very familiar with racial identity and its boundaries where they tend to protect their identity by not getting involved in any activity which would confuse their identity. Additionally, in protecting their identity students of black race do not get involved with white students in social activities such as clubbing as their choices of music is different even though they study in the same classroom which creates a gap in among peer groups. (Dolby, 2001) According to Frith, (1996) there is a recent emergence of identity politics where it strongly emphasizes on uniqueness of identity values and it has built strong points to talk such as “only a African American can appreciate African American music”. According to Perry, (2002) the identity of Black population is imposed on them by White population in the society where they use certain set of keywords to define attributes of Black society. In the discussion Perry, (2002) presents that Black population at schools are known under themes of “cool”, “gangster” and “tough” where there are increasingly being copied by the white students in the class which represents a contradicting situation with the findings presented in Dolby, . According to Perry, (2002) the transformation in the taste of the White population is due to the perception of covering what is missing from their personalities. Additionally, Perry, (2002) explains that these themes used to describe Black Americans such as “cool”, “gangster” and “tough” are not actually the characteristics of identity of Black Americans, but they are the characteristics which define a stereo type Black Americans and they are being used by White Americans to change their lifestyle to become “wanna be black”. Additionally, in Dolby, (2001) the impact of globalization on the popular music and its effect on the school curriculum is explained. According to Dolby, (2011) globalization has allowed to create global culture where it has allowed to create set of global popular music. This has significantly transformed the life style of the youth, where youth around the world has started to listen to a common set of music irrespective of the nationality. In Dolby, (2011) it is argued that adaptation to the global culture has resulted in white students in South Africa attempting to look like music Black American due to the influence of the popular Black singers. However, this has resulted in significant change in youth from the way in which they dress to the type of the music they listen. Additionally, due to the effects of the global culture, guys with black skin are considered as hero in the classroom which as primarily resulted through the popular black singers and Dolby, (2002) identifies it as a significant that would affect the curriculum in the school.
In evaluating why youth listen to popular music, North and Hagreaves, (2000) has conducted a research based in Leicester in United Kingdom. The research utilized responses of 245 participants who provided different reasons for listening to music. Most of the respondents replied reasons for listening to popular music as self actualization where as some have resondended as a fulfilling emotional needs and social needs. However, these responses did not include any response regarding improvements in academic performance and findings do not include any note about positive impacts of music on education which should have been reflected as a reason to use music in their day to day life, it contradicts with the findings of Boal-Palheiros and Hargreaves, (2001) and Lamont et al, (2003) which emphasized the positive aspects of music’s effects of education of youngsters.
The above report presented the effects of popular music on the education of the youngsters where it analyzed the positive and the negative effects of popular music on the classroom activities. Evidence of popular music being used as a motivator in the academic process was presented while analyzing the effects of races and the identity of the youth on their preference of music. The preference of music based on the race and identity had a major impact on the curriculum where effects of the global culture have overtaken the impacts created by the unique racial identity. Additionally, negative effects of popular music on student’s curiculam were demonstrated where empirical evidence was presented to support the argument.
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