How does music affect teenagers' emotions?

Written by hans fredrick
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How does music affect teenagers' emotions?
Some teens identify more with music than with anything in the world around them. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Music is important in the lives of many teenagers. It is this market that drives the music industry, and "pop" music is basically defined by whatever is popular among the young people of a given time. Part of the reason that young people are so important to the music industry is their passion for music. Music affects young people deeply and in various ways and some become lifelong fans of the music of their youth.


A study conducted by Steven C. Martino, Ph.D., through RAND suggests that teens that listen to certain types of music are more likely to engage in sexual conduct. Sex is intrinsically linked to emotions and listening to certain types of music seems to increase the likelihood that teens would engage in sexual activity. The study particularly looked at music that contained sexually degrading content. Teens listening to this style of music were more likely to have had sex.


Many studies have been done on the link between listening to certain types of music and whether or not music with violent messages leads to teens who are angry and more likely to commit violent acts. Music therapist Davida Price talks about how intensely music can affect younger people. She mentions that listening to some angry and violent music is common for teens. It is only if extremely aggressive music is the only type of music that a teen listens to that parents should become concerned. This holds the potential to create or reflect anger the teen is experiencing.

Emotional Reactions

Rhythm has an effect on the emotions of people that listen to it. Rhythm seems to affect the listener on an emotional level. Thus, an upbeat tempo could create positive emotions. Also, listeners to music might experience empathy with the emotion expressed by the singer, as Klaus R. Scherer and Marcel R. Zentner found in their study, "Emotional Effects of Music." Teenagers tend to be emotionally volatile and so could experience this mirroring empathy effect to larger degrees than people in greater control of their emotions.

Creating Music

Listening to music is a powerful force in the lives of many teenagers, but creating music can be equally, if not more, powerful. Artistic releases are often used as techniques for helping troubled teens control or release pent-up emotions. Making quality music is hard work. Teens who pursue it successfully might find that certain emotions are easier to deal with when making music, and the music could also help them discover new emotions. Passion, pride and creativity can emerge when music is created.

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