Music Preferences are the Newest Flavors of the Week

When most students come to college, they have musical preferences they’ve picked up from back home. Indeed, favorite bands are often a local occurrence influenced by years of listening to the hometown radio stations and going to the same live concerts. But in college, many students expand their musical tastes to include different local bands, innovative genres, and sometimes they even produce their own music.The inspirations to vary musical interests are mainly based on proximity. Indeed, the three most popular influences deal with increasing nearness to the person. Our parents are the first main influence in changing tastes in music. The period of between high school and readying for college can also be viewed as the time period used to clear your musical palate. As you began to detach yourself from your friends, you paid less attention to the things that bound you together, such as your tastes in music. At that point, the closest people to you were your family members. Depending on the presence and ages of siblings, chances are your parents were a greater influence on you than you realize. The music our parents listened to slowly became our music, too.Before the 1920s, our generic minds label all tunes as classical. But with the Roaring Twenties came jazz, blues and swing, which would later influence styles such as rock-and-roll and country. The amalgamation of so many different types of music molded the popular styles of yesterday and today. Classic Rock is the genre of music most familiar to the generation before us, and most of us know songs that our parents used to sing. And even now, many beloved bands attribute their sound to bands from the past 20 years. But unless you always and only listen to Top 40 tunes, it can be guaranteed that your parents’ tastes in music have influenced your own. So if parental influence is one catalyst for changing musical tastes, the next closest realm of influence has to be those that live around you. When we think about living in dorms, we tend to believe we mix only germs with our neighbors. Not so! Most students learn about other artists and types of music from other people. “Most music is word-of-mouth. You learn about artists through other people who have already heard them,” said Jason Eckard, a sophomore Communications major. Walking through the residential halls, you can hear a variety of music new to your ears. Teegan Dykeman, another student, had a slightly different experience when she went to the High School of Science and Math. Although it wasn’t exactly college, she agreed with Eckard in the way dorm life influences music. “When you have dorm rooms to visit, you pick up different things that you like,” she said. In turn, the musical preferences of others are added to your personal collection.And if you happen to fall in love with the music your friend shared with you, you most likely will try to find more of the same artist or genre. In comes the third biggest influence on changing musical tastes- the Internet. Besides legally or illegally downloading you favorite band’s new CD, the Internet is the greatest and easiest source in finding new music. And because the average person can now record and share their own music on sites like MySpace, the range of young people’s musical taste is becoming more evident. On a random search of WCU Facebook profiles, 36 out of 50 students stated having more than ten favorite bands. Many MySpace music profiles are unknown musicians who decided to record in their basements and hope to gain popularity. Posted lyrics on blogs and AIM away messages can also trigger others to investigate music. Regardless of what prompts you to find new music, the Internet is your best bet to sample a variety of melodies. One trait that is characteristic of our generation is eclectic musical taste. Whether greatly influenced by parents, friends, or sporadic hours on MySpace, there is no doubt that our generation is one that loves different types of music.