Gimme da Aux

Karley Kent, Staff Writer

Music plays a very important role in the life of almost any modern teenager. Regardless of who or what they may be listening to, not one high school student I can think of has any trouble pulling out a pair of headphones during an independent work day in class. In this generation there are infinite amounts of artists and genres you can listen to. Everyone should feel comfortable listening to whatever music sounds good to them without a fear of being judged by their peers.

One genre of music that seems to have a large fan base amongst high school students in our area is country. However there is one senior Scott Sawaya who hasn’t quite hopped on this trend.“I really enjoy a wide range of music. I don’t have a specific genre that’s my favorite,” Sawaya said. “I really like to listen to the content of the lyrics, so if I don’t really like the lyrics of a song, even if it’s catchy, I generally don’t like the song.”

Pop and rap — music that is more upbeat — tends to be more popular at a high school level. However, there is an even larger percentage of people who enjoy listening to music that isn’t necessarily as mainstream. In some cases this taste can be inspired by a parent or perhaps the student feels more inclined to explore music genres from before their time. This is exactly the case with junior Jackson Salin.

“I definitely feel like I’ve been judged about my music before,” Salin said. “Some people will say things like ‘oh wow you think you’re so cool because you listen to different kinds of music.’”

Music stereotyping has become a dilemma.  People assume listening to music by artists like Twenty One Pilots labels someone as an angsty emo kid, or showtunes makes someone a theatre nerd. These presumptions create negative judgement between friends and can make some people feel really self concious. This is true of freshman Makena Price who says she sometimes feels judged for enjoying country music.

“I think music shaming is a common thing,” Price said. “It’s very negative. “I feel like it could be changed if everyone just got to listen to their own music and weren’t made fun of for it.”

Music shaming can even more so affect those who take part in creating it. For example, students who are in band, orchestra or choir. Making music in any way, or even just being interested in it, can completely shape the things you enjoy listening to. Music has the potential to be much more emotionally impactful on a person when they aren’t just listening to the songs that are considered “cool”.

“I would say [my taste in music] is better because in today’s music there’s not a lot of different genres. There’s two main ones which are basically pop and rap,” Salin said. “Back in the 70s, 60s, 50s and even a little bit in the 80s there were way more different genres that were widely listened to.”

Listening to music can also be a great way to express yourself. It can be a statement of who you are as a person. It can be a reflection of your current feelings towards things going on in your life. Some people see music as a way to escape, and it is unfair that the opinion’s of their peers can impact what they choose to listen to. No one deserves to get so much as a dirty look for their music preferences, let alone be verbally ridiculed by people who are acting small-minded.

“I live in a more country part of Kansas, in Stillwell. Which is a pretty small town. I feel like my music taste kind of reflects where I live,” Price said. “I feel like music expresses who you are, what you like and what you have an interest in.”

People should be more open to listening to others favorite jams. This could create a different kind of community surrounding music, and would eliminate a stereotype of what is popular. Just because of the vast array of options there are of things to listen to, trying a new playlist every once and awhile wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“I do think everyone should at least try to listen to different types of music,” Sawaya said. “They don’t have to listen to it regularly, but it’s good to be exposed to things that you don’t like so you can understand the things you can do to be better.”