What Do Students Listen To?

What Do Students Listen To?

Jasper Coen, Staff Reporter

We all listen to music. Even if you’re not actively trying, you probably hear music multiple times a day. But it’s not really just a listening experience. Many seek peace, solace, or happiness in music. And for more still, music impacts not only their day or week, but their life as a whole. But does this reflect in SHS students? When students at Salida High School look back, how much has music impacted them and their lives?

As far as general information goes, data was collected on student’s favorite genres, artists, and what they look for in music. The most popular and most listened to genre was hip-hop/rap with 36 votes followed closely by rock with 35. Pop, alternative, and country music were also very popular. It was also shown that, out of the students interviewed, around 43.5% value instrumentals over anything else in music. 32.1% answered that they valued lyrical content the most. And around 13.2% of people said that they find the singers voice to be the most important thing in music while the last 5.7% said that they valued the technical skill required to pull off the piece. Favorite artists ranged anywhere from Dolly Parton to Kendrick Lamar.

According to a survey taken by around 70 students, music has played a massively important role in their individual lives. Out of 70 students an astounding 97.1% said that music had changed their lives in some capacity. And out of that group over 70% said that their lives were changed by a fairly large margin. That means that, out of 70 interviewed students, only two had lives that music had in no way affected. It was also shown by the data that, on average, students spend over five hours listening to music daily.

It’s clear that SHS students listen to a lot of music and that much of it hits near and dear to their own hearts, but what, specifically, do people get out of music; what’s in it for them? Some students surveyed described music as “calming,” “relaxing,” or as making them happier. Students were also quoted as saying that music “gives me a way to be calm in my own world.” Some went further to say that music “brings me out of my depression and distracts me.” While other students yet still talked about how they couldn’t focus or work without the presence of music.

One student writes, “I used to be bullied by my best friend the first two years of middle school for liking the type of music I like. It stuck with me throughout my whole middle school years. This summer I was very depressed and it got bad. I finally decided to stop living in my bully-endured shell, and become who I wanted. I started to wear what I wanted, I bought all the merch I wanted, and it’s all thanks to music. Now I feel great! I’m in a band with cool people, I play 3-4 instruments… I’ve met the most amazing people through just talking about metal.”

A different student gave their insight saying,  “Artists use music in order to communicate their experiences… Just because an artist knows the significance of their music, of their words, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the listener will have the same experience, and a lot of the time it takes several plays (of a song) where you really try to understand the artist’s words and their meaning until you finally get the message. However, this means that you could also go in the opposite direction, finding your own meaning in a song that should mean little to you in and of itself. Through these basic principles of art, an artist has the ability to communicate a different message every time someone new plays their song. All the while having only spoken their truth once.”

Alongside this, students have sought fulfillment in music through things like the SHS jazz band and concert band, Rok Skool, or their own personal projects. Some students will be performing live music this year in not only the SHS band concerts but also through Sunfest in Riverside Park. There are also a few students who’ve worked on writing their own music. One student in particular is on schedule to release their first album by the end of the school year.

So music is not simply a hobby for SHS students; to say such would be reductionism on a gargantuan scale. No, music is not simply a hobby, it is not even a passion. It’s an escape. A refuge, and a solace. It provides focus and calm. It gives people inspiration. And, most importantly, it forms the way that people see their world, themselves, and how the two can fit together in harmony.