People in positions of power are either revered or feared, because power is something that can be used both constructively and destructively. The power of music can be used either way. Used properly, music can enhance ones cognitive ability, calm a troubled mind, soothe tension and help bring about healing in ones body. Used improperly, it can influence inappropriate behavior, leading the listener down a path of self-destruction.
In a 2009 Time Magazine article entitled Using Music To Ease Patient Stress During Surgery, it is stated, for as long as humans have pounded drums and plucked strings, listening to music has affected people’s sense of well-being, lifting their spirits and — as new research shows — calming their nerves.
According to Dr. Clive Robbins of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Clinic, "Almost all children respond to music. Music is an open-sesame, and if you can use it carefully and appropriately, you can reach into that child’s potential for development." Numerous studies have proven that children who take music lessons at an early age score higher in IQ tests than their non-musical counterparts. Even simply listening to the right kind of music can enhance a person’s mood, which tends to cause a more positive outcome in anything from test scores to medical treatments.
When used negatively, however, the power of music can be a weapon of mass destruction.
Under The Influence
The music industry has wielded its power of influence over young minds for decades, and none of it is by coincidence. In a 2004 article in the …..magazine, MTV owner, Bob Pittman was quoted saying “we don’t shoot for the fourteen year olds, we OWN THEM! Listen to the radio, or watch music videos for more than a few moments, and you will see that the content of today’s music is flooded with sex, and alcohol and drug use. Many of the videos portray women only as sex objects to be used for men’s pleasure, and popular alcoholic beverages are often mentioned, even glorified in the songs.
It is a known fact that children tend to mirror the behavior that surrounds them. And since a great majority of teens spend much of their time listening to popular music and watching music videos, it is no wonder that the statistics of teen STDs, pregnancy, and drug use are alarming.
In 2005, a group of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study on the lyrical content of popular music, according to Billboard Magazine, and found the following:
References to drugs or alcohol by genre:
- Pop 9%
- Rock 14%
- R&B/Hip Hip 20%
- Country 36%
- Rap 77%
Only 4% of music contained an anti-drug message.
Parents, we must be aware of what our children are listening to during the early years, when young minds, character and values are being formed. If left up to society, our children will be swept away in the tide of early sexuality, drinking, partying, and a culture that glorifies outward appearance over inward character. It is our responsibility to know who and what is entertaining our children. Because entertainment does more than just entertain, it INFLUENCES!