Music has been the soundtrack to every generation’s era . I have been around three generations of people in my family and there has yet to be a time when a song playing on the radio didn’t take someone back to a “better time and place.” If this is the norm, is music an imitation of life or is life an imitation of music? If it is either, what will be said about our children’s generation?
According to George P. Lull “Music promotes experiences of the extreme for its makers and listeners, turning the perilous emotional edges, vulnerabilities, triumphs, celebrations, and antagonisms of life into hypnotic, reflective tempos that can be experienced privately or shared with others.” There is a growing concern amongst parents that the music (primarily hard core heavy metal and rap) heard and seen on television and radio is causing a serious deterioration of our children’s morals. While we can not place the blame on music for our children’s behavior, we can often see distinct similarities between their behavior and the type of music they listen to. However, music can not be expected to teach our children life’s basic lessons.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a debate about the type of music that radio and television has played on the air. During these two decades, society has been blaming music on the increase in teenage drug abuse, violence, and crime rates in neighborhoods across the country. We can not blame music or music videos on how our youth think or act nor should we expect musicians to be held accountable for our children’s behavior, performance in school, attitudes, etc. After all, they are only entertainers. What constitutes them to be role models to our youth? Yes, they are in the public eye, but they are musicians, earning a living just like you and I. There are a few entertainers today who see themselves as role models but they are few and far between. Most will go on public record saying that they never claimed to want to assume the position of role models for anyone.
In 2002, rapper Eminem refuted the outrageous accusations about his music being the cause of many violent crimes being committed by children in suburban American homes. In 2002 he stated in his song Sing For The Moment , “They say music can alter moods and talk to you, but can it load a gun for you and cock it too? Well if it can, then the next time you assault a dude, just tell the judge it was my fault, and I’ll get sued.”
Our children see the glamorous lifestyles of singers and rappers and will try to imitate it. They believe that if they do exactly what they see in the music videos, they will get the money, women, and respect of their friends. Parents should assume the position as role models in our children’s lives. If you want to seek out other role models then go to a local youth sports organization, Big Brothers and Sisters, churches, YMCAs, city council, etc., but do not expect musicians to set a proper example for children. A musician’s lifestyle is typically not that of someone on the high moral road. I am a firm believer that at certain ages, radio and television shows should be monitored and in these days, I wouldn’t even assume that some of the cartoons are acceptable to allow your children to watch unattended. Sit down and talk to your children about the type of music that they listen to. A few years ago, I remember listening to a song with a cool beat. I thought the song was a “fun” song until I stopped to listen to the entire message. Once I learned what the artists were singing about I quickly turned to my teenage son and asked him if he understood the message. After I explained it to him, I asked him if it was a song that we should be listening to and he responded, “No ma’am.”
Music is an expression of life. It will never die. For every major event that happens in a lifetime, music will be there to celebrate it with us and after we all have grown old, music will take us back to the “good old days.” Let’s just make sure music is imitating us and not the other way around, our children’s future depends upon it.