Joe Sacriponte

The Effects of Music


            In some way, music affects everyone.  Whether it is, a young girl’s favorite song on the radio, a college student’s escape from reality or a form of entertainment to a married couple, music brings everyone together.  Music definitely affects the lifestyles of people in many different ways.  The diverse styles of music makes people look and act differently.  Music has many different levels.  To me, levels meaning; the more independent and progressive the music is, the more the fans take it to the extreme.  Music creates style.  It causes people to talk, act, and dress the way they do.  I hope to discover how much music influences people, especially college students.  Also, the more fascinated they are the more influences it has to them.  I would like to prove, that to some, music is nothing more than the pop song playing on the radio in the car, and to others, it is a major part of their life.  It is very interesting to me, to learn the effects music has toward people.  Music impacts everyone in some way (positive or negative), but I think it impacts college students the most.  I would like to know the reasons people are listening to music they buy and support.  Also, the reasons certain groups are more popular than others.            

            I used a couple various methods of research to conduct my research.  I wrote up ten surveys with some questions about gender, age, what they buy, do they attend concerts, and do they support local music.  I passed these surveys out to completely random students so there was no imbalance of the results. I hope to find out certain things like: are males affected more than females from music; who buys more clothing/ accessories; is local music important to college students.

            Another form of research was done by making some observations.  I observed places that college students live.  I observed a few of my friends apartments very closely and also observed a couple other houses that I was invited to over the past month. By doing this, I hope to generalize what they like and how it influences them.  For example, posters of music groups hanging everywhere will indicate a more of an influence than paintings, by say Picasso.   Clothing, jewelry, and actual speech from people may also provide some interesting details. While making these observations, I had also done a couple interviews.  A couple were formal, sit-down interviews and the others were just conversations that I thought would be helpful to making my research complete. 

            After giving some thought to my results, I decided to add a section about my personal history.  Throughout my life music has affected me in many different ways.  It has helped me through some very important decisions, such as, how I feel, who I am with, where I am going to go.

            When I was ten years old, I got my first guitar. It was an acoustic guitar.  I loved to play it, but dreaded going to the lessons. My parents forced me because I couldn’t play a single note.  After a year or two things started to come together and I could play some songs.  Then I decided to purchase an electric guitar.  For me, this was the greatest thing to ever happen to me.  I played everyday at any time that I could.  My favorite group was the Beastie Boys.  My friends and I would pretend we were them and put on shows pretending to be them.  As I got older, I would purchase any music that I could; cassette tapes, records, videos, posters, anything that dealt with music.  Around seventh or eighth grade, I purchased a used drum set.  My other friends all played, so we decided to form a band.  We would practice in the garage as much as often until my parents said enough, until it became an obsession.  We played a couple of parties (nothing big, because this was the eighth grade), but still a major part of my life at the time. 

            One day during practice, I remember my good friend, the lead singer, telling me booked a real gig, in downtown Pittsburgh.  We got a set ready and about a month to practice our songs.  The place was called the Electric Banana, it was real dive bar.  Most people there were friends and family, but still a nice turnout.  Since then I haven’t been playing in a band, but still love making music.  Most of my friends are really into music too.  We swap music with each other and talk about it all the time.  When I switched schools in high school, music really helped me make some friends.  Without music my life would be totally different and a lot more boring, so I’m glad it turned out this way.

            I am very happy with the results that I got from the surveys.  There were ten surveys filled out.  Of the ten, six were females and four were males.  Eight of the ten all liked rap/hip hop music or said rap along with some other forms.  The other two liked rock, punk, or emo.  No one put classic rock as their choice (which I found to be very interesting, because I like classic rock).  There were two other questions I found to be very much related.  Everyone that collects music, any form, (CD, cassette tape, or vinyl) has clothing and/or accessories that support music, for instance, posters, T-shirts, and hats.  Four out of ten said they regularly attend concerts.  I was very pleased to hear that eight of ten support local musicians/bands.  I am a music lover, (as you know) so the local scene is very important to me.  Here is a graph I constructed from the surveys.



                  Females                                                                             Males

                                                   60%           40%




            The interviews came out to be very useful also.  I talked to a music lover/musician/collector.  His name was Neil and he was very cooperative.  We talked about the unusual styles of music he liked.  He has a very wide range of music in his collection.  We talked about some of his favorite artists, some being Pittsburgh based groups. He loves live music and goes to as many shows as possible.  He said “it’s hard to get to places without a car and with classes” He also said “I just saw The Roots play for my sixth time last week, at a little place in Oakland.”  We were talking about how they are definitely one of his favorites, if he had to pick.  I asked him why he was so into music. He replied “It’s a stress reliever.  It takes my mind off school, work, and people’s pettiness.”

            Another interview that I performed was not as formal.  This one was with my dad at the dinner table.  It was pretty short and to the point. I asked him if he likes music. He said “No.”  I then asked him if he ever listens to it and he said “No, when I am in the car I listen to the news or talk radio and when I’m home I’m either working or watching TV.”  After doing this research, I realized that by doing interviews you can really feel the emotion from the answers compared to reading a survey.  I think that interviews did help me make certain things easier to understand on the survey.