How Music Plays into Stereotypes at Lone Peak
By Kayla Barlow
Some things that are unavoidable when it comes to attending high school are the basic school stereotypes. It is inevitable. Everybody has different hobbies that he or she enjoy and participate in. Students tend to put a particular type of person into his or her “correct” social group. Although it is assumed that students know what people are like based on their outside appearance, there are surprises in everyone. Everybody at Lone Peak could be listening to the same song and get a completely different message from it. Music is a huge part of our identities and society as a whole. Music is everywhere and most of us are very particular in the kind of music we listen to. Different types of people listen to different types of music. It seems to have a play into what kind of stereotype a person is categorized into. Do these stereotypes hold any truth to them?
These four questions were given to a number of students here at Lone Peak. Those questions are:
What kind of hobbies do you enjoy?
What genre of music do you prefer?
Do you participate in any music involved activities? (Musical Theatre, Choir, Instruments, Dance, etc)
Do you listen to classical music regularly?
Results came out suggesting that people choose which music they like to listen to based on how they view their personality, and how they want others to view them. For example, a large variety of students who enjoy sports as a hobby generally listen to more upbeat music as a whole. Other students who primarily enjoy art, listen to more mellow music.
The results also show that people who listen to diverse music can be a lot similar than they seem to be. Classical music and heavy metal rock are entirely different, but two people who listen to these genres can have the same motivation; to hear music which is dramatic and theatrical. This is an excellent example of how people identify so closely with their music taste. Two genres which are widely accepted to be polar opposites have listeners who are very alike.
One thing that became very clear when talking to the students of Lone Peak, is that not only does music create stereotypes, but that stereotypes can create music. One student, when asked what genre of music he enjoys, said, “I like to view my music as only a song. Putting it as part of a genre can change a person's view on the song.” He views a song as not a part of a genre, but a song as an individual. Some stereotypes can even classify if a song in a certain genre is good or bad. For example, if a person enjoys pop music, it doesn’t mean that they enjoy every song or every aspect of the genre. It’s possible that the reason they view that song the way they do is that of stereotypes that are surrounding it, not their actual opinion. In social psychology, Smith and Mackie suggested that “once a stereotype exists, it influences what people think and how they behave toward members of stereotyped groups. Stereotype effects are so persuasive, that they can even affect our judgments of inanimate objects.”
Stereotypes play a significant role in society, especially in high school. Students can quickly feel as though they don’t belong, and what is resorted to as a coping mechanism is music. Music is an outlet to dream of bigger things and look to the future which is something we as high school students do often. Although stereotypes are somewhat accurate, you never know how a person views themselves without the high school filter. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly, “hello” to begin seeing someone for who they really are.