Effects of Music on Human Behavior
As music has changed through out the years, artists have become much more lax with the message that they send to the public. As laws of censorship change, a separation of the public’s freedom of speech and the medias has become very significant. As the government cracks down, many artists fight to keep their freedom.
With people blaming their actions on the lyrics of the music they are exposed to, this is going to be a hard feat for the artists to accomplish. Although the fight of the musical artists against the government has been going on for the past 20 years, it has become even more emanate now.
Are the actions of people to be blamed on the music? What effect does music have on the social behavior? Should these effects make harder censorship laws, or is music protected by the Bill of Rights? Music has become a large part of everyone’s life. Preservation of music is very important to the preservation of the american culture so these problems cannot be ignored. The most misunderstood music is Rap. Children as well as teenagers have a hard time interpreting emotions in music (Weinberger). This misunderstanding is most relevant in rap music, because it is harder for children to relate to the artist.
In cases like these, apparent or older sibling has to explain the message to the child (Weinberger). In particular, “gangsta rap” is distinguished by lyrics that often involve references to street gangs, gunplay, sex, drug use and violence, and has been accused of extolling violent behavior. Studies have found that exposure to rap music “tends to lead to a higher degree of acceptance of the use of violence. ” In addition, several major rap artists have been charged with violent crimes in real life, and many worry that their actions seemingly condone the violent messages in their music.
Their celebrity status also serves to glamorize their violent behavior (Mediascope). Although there is violence, sex, and drug reference in modern rock music, most have a much deeper message about life. It has been resolved that rock music has had more influence on older adolesencents then their parents do (Weinberger). Rock music is much easier for teenagers to relate to with all of their pressures and problems. “Kids who listen to Heavy Metal and Rap tend not to do as well in school, or it maybe that troubled students are drawn to these types of music” (Weinberger 99)
The most rebellious music is Punk. Punk spreads the true ideas of the modern teenager through the media. “When parents look at Punk music they see everything that is wrong with their children just as their parents did” (Robertson). Parents should pay more attention to the music that their children listen to. They must also censor the music (American Acad…). Even with all of the violence, sex, and drug references in music, there are many benefits. Listening to music keeps the brain in shape. Listening involves learning, memory, and emotions (Ezarik).
Studies of the Mozart Effect have shown that listening to music can make babies more creative, smarter, healthier, and happier (Ezarik). Some doctors in ancient Greece even believed that music was just as important as medication in treating patients (Gregory). Other studies of music, faster music tends to make people work faster where as music with long, gentle notes tend to relax (Gregory). The effects of music psychology can be seen in stores in our own community. Many play background music in order to get shoppers to stay in the store (Gregory).
Music is important in adolescent lives: teenagers spend between four and five hours a day listening to music and watching music videos and name music listening as their preferred non-school activity. It is not surprising that government officials, researchers and parents alike are concerned about the impact of music on teenagers. Disturbed by the amount of violence portrayed in modern music, adults worry that these messages are contributing to the rise in violence among kids.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of Americans say that violence in popular music should be more heavily regulated and 59% would ike to restrict violence in music. (Mediascope) The effects of stimulating and sedating music were determined for heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure of premature infants in an intensive care nursery. The results indicate that the calming and stabilizing effect of sedating music might help to reduce the use of sedative drugs in infants on ventilators and reduce the incidence of respiratory problems (Journal of Mus…). The basic rights of freedom of speech are outlined in the Bill of Rights. Do these rights also cover the freedom of speech in music?
Music is a form of media and should be censored, just as movies and television (American Acad…). Many performers do see themselves as large role models, but they also believe that parents should take action. “How much damage can I do with a pen? ” (Eminem, Rap Artist) When parents are not around, who are children supposed to look up too? (American Acad…) There is really no way that parents can regulate all of the music that their children listen to, but it is a start for parents just to find out what kind of music their children are exposed to (American Acad…).
Even with these changes many bands have not received the message to clean up or get out (Gregory). How far should the government go in their intervention? Keeping records that should not be open to the public off the shelves, taking away publishing rights from some artists that go to far with their music is up to the public to decide. Many parents look at the music that their children listen to and do not even consider it music, but porn. With all the reference to sex not only in the music, but also in the music videos shown on television.
Although the government has made a lot of threats to try to intimidate the music industry; many parents believe that these threats should be carried out in order to end the violence (American Acad…). “Music may contribute to the atmosphere of violence that some argue is generated by popular media. Critics claim that music negatively affects teenagers by repeatedly exposing them to themes such as Satanism, substance abuse, murder, suicide and sexual violence, which may be heavily reinforced and normalized by the frequency of their portrayal.
Heavy metal and rap music are especially criticized for lyrics that many believe glorify violence. Music lyrics have also become increasingly explicit in the past two decades. Songs commonly make graphic references to sex, drugs and violence, whereas such sensitive topics were cleverly veiled in the past. ”(Mediascope) The public, and parents, should be aware of sexually explicit, drug oriented, or violent lyrics on compact discs, tapes, music videos, and the Internet.
The music industry should develop and apply a system of specific content-labeling of music regarding violence, sex, drugs, or offensive lyrics. If labeling is not done voluntarily by the music industry, then regulation should be developed to make it mandatory (American Acad…). “Forty-seven percent (47%) of mothers with children in public schools believe that violent messages in rap music contribute “a great deal” to school violence, and 66% of 13- to 17-year-olds believe violence in music is partly responsible for violent crimes like the 1999 Columbine High School shootings.
However, no studies have documented a cause-and-effect relationship between violent or sexually explicit lyrics and adverse behavioral effects. Studies show that the preference for heavy metal music may be a significant indicator for alienation, substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, suicide risks, sex-role stereotyping, or risk-taking behaviors during adolescence, but music is not the cause of these behaviors. It is hypothesized that teenagers already struggling with those issues may be attracted to heavy metal music, because the lyrics express their own troubled feelings. (Mediascope)
The music video industry should be encouraged to produce videos and public service messages with positive themes about relationships, racial harmony, drug avoidance, nonviolence and conflict, pregnancy prevention, and avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases (American Acad…). “Music Television (MTV) redefined music for future generations by creating music videos, and the unique fusion between rock music and visual images continues to be a hit. A 1996 study revealed that boys and irls ages 12 to 19 watch MTV for an average of 6. 6 and 6. 2 hours each week, respectively.
But despite music videos’ popularity among adolescents, many adults criticize the medium as studies show that music videos often contain violence, sexism, suicide and substance abuse. A 1998-1999 study revealed that music videos were more violent than feature films and television, averaging four violent scenes each, and a 1997 study reported that 22. 4% of MTV videos contained overt violence and 25% depicted weapon carrying. (Mediascope) Pediatricians should counsel parents to become media-literate.
This means watching television with their children and teenagers, discussing the content with them, and initiating the process of selective viewing at an early age (American Acad…). What actions has the government taken to get the ball rolling on these problems many people are wondering? The government has set up a rating system for music. As with movies, it is separated into age groups that are mature enough to listen to the content of the album.
The government has also required a label to be placed on albums with explicit content. The label simply states “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” (VH1, 100 most…). Although the government has taken a few steps, there is much more that could be done. As for the laws that are involved none are truly enforced out of fear of a lawsuit, or problems involving the loss of support to pass these laws by the music industry and the artists. As ideas and times change in the world, the message in music will also change.
Looking back in the past few years the change in music has been very substantial, with the introduction of new music such as techno. Music may be stepping away form violence by itself. If music does take this step away, all by itself, there may be no reason for the government to intervene with censorship. There is no reason why people should be able to get away with their actions because of listening to music. Music may have a substantial effect on many people, but everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, fact and fiction.