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Musical Influences

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Music has been used for many different things throughout history. It is said that music influences a person's brain, and by doing so, has an effect on overall behavior or activity of a person. Many Indian tribes across North America used percussion instruments (drums) to contact the spirits of their ancestors. During the Renaissance period, during many parties held by royalty, "classical" music was played to keep a happy atmosphere about the ballroom. In the next few paragraphs, we'll look at how today's society blames Metal Music for many behavioral disorders amongst the youth.

Musical preferences are as diverse as the people who listen to them. Different types of music have different reputations; heavy metal music is often labeled as "negative," yet others find it a harmless form of music. It is my belief that music may have some sort of effect on the listener, but nothing serious and nothing damaging. The behavior of a person is purely their own, whether it be caused from their parents telling them no or a kid they hate at school spoke with them; however, this is by no means the musicians' faults.

Like other types of music, such as jazz, blues, and even rap, the distinct style of heavy metal music can be grouped into three main sections. One popular style of heavy metal is death metal. Death metal has a darker sound and more surreal style than other forms of heavy metal. The music itself is fast, heavy, and loud, usually with a classical twist thrown in. The images that death metal portrays are death, doom, destruction, suicide, sex, and drugs. Some people may see these images as harmful or having a negative effect on the listener.

Another form of heavy metal music is speed metal. Speed metal has a more upbeat sound than death metal and isn't as "depressing." It's fast paced and has a hard impact, the lead guitar following a seemingly impossible rhythm. This is in contrast to death metal, which emphasizes rhythm guitar. The last type of metal music being thrash metal. The name refers to both the thrashing sound of the music and the flailing movement of its listeners. The sound is extremely loud and has the same tone and style of speed metal. These styles however, attract certain "types" of people.

The majority of people who listen to metal music is said to be white males. These males range in ages between 14-24. They have a certain style of dress and way of life; they wear dark clothing with morbid images of death and destruction, for example. This clothing can be seen as an advertisement that displays the teens' musical preference. Teens who prefer metal music have a higher incidence of below-average grades, school behavior problems, sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, and arrests. Despite this, it was obvious that the teens' home lives were "stable" : two parents, good living conditions and a sound financial status. It's just a way of getting attention.

Parents want the best for their children, but sometimes their efforts are not beneficial. When parents nag their children about what they should/shouldn't listen to, kids can become angry and depressed. This can possibly lead to drinking, drug use, and suicide. Parents can blame this behavior on the music that their kids are listening to, but they will never be able to link it to the music their children enjoy.

Studies have been done on the effect of heavy metal music. Child psychiatrists at the University of Iowa examined the effects of heavy metal music on teenagers' social behavior. These studies show that many teens who thought, seriously, about suicide and have thought about or have abused drugs listen to heavy metal, but they can't show a direct connection between the music and these actions. Another recent survey done by the University of Iowa reported that female hard rock fans thought about suicide more often than people that listen to other types of music; however, most of the females who thought about suicide were too scared



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