Do young people listen to music?

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Do young people listen to music?

The DAB/SACD/MP3 debates about sound quality all lead, for me, to an uncomfortable conclusion - that the mass market for high quality sound is gone becuase young people don't listen to music any more.

When I was a lad (not too long ago, I'm 46) we had a weekly "music appreciation" class at primary school. For 40 minutes, we sat in a room and listened to music. No distractions, no talking allowed. You just listened. Schools don't seem to do that anymore.

Like most people here, I guess, I have a room where I can listen to music without distraction. I don't do other things. I just listen. I don't know anyone younger than me who does this.

Young people have music on in the background while they are doing other things. We all do this, of course, but this seems to me to be the only way that young people use music. Reading, homework, watching YouTube videos...the music is an accompaniment to their lives, a soundtrack. For these purposes, highly compressed music is a decided advantage. You don't want "quiet bits" -- they will never be heard if they are only background music to begin with.

I'm sure there are exceptions. I'm sure there are still children who have been dragged to concerts by their parents from an early age, and who have developed a genuine love of music. I am also fairly certain they are a vanishingly small percentage of the under-30s. Listening to music is a dying habit, and with it will go the mass market for high quality recordings and, ultimately, Gramophone magazine.

Someone please tell me I'm talking nonsense.

RE: Do young people listen to music?

'Young people' actually listen to more music than ever before, thanks to services such as Spotify.  However, I think you're mistaken in the assertion that here's ever been a mass market for high quality sound - I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I know (who don't work for Gramophone or What Hifi) who aspire to listening to their music on anything more than a Bose Sounddock.  And frankly, that's better quality than anything I, and I suspect the vast majority of us, were able to listen to when we were young.

RE: Do young people listen to music?

I take both my daughters (10 and 15) and one of their friends to two subscriptions series - they all love the music but are not inclined to listen to anything at home other than pop music on their iPods or computers.  But it's a start - until I was twenty I did the same.

I don't need any fingers to count how many people I know who actively sit down in their living room and do nothing but listen to classical music for a period.  I can't even get people from my work to go to classical concerts for free when I have a spare ticket.

I think it was Brian Eno on a BBC4 program who said that for today's young people, music is a commodity that they trade in and listen to, but not in the way that previous generations did.  It is no longer a driving passion.  I agree with that but think it is only something that has changed in pop music listening; for "classical" (for want of a better word) I suspect the situation has not changed significantly over the last fifty years and it will always remain a minority interest.

RE: Do young people listen to music?

Just a bit of nonsense and some truth; children these days are consumed by the MP3 medium, I grant you that, but at  least they are listening to music. My children are 16 and 13 and we have brought them up to learn an instrument (and my girl sings too), although they do not yet have a deep interest in classical music, so I do not drag them out to all concerts that I am interested in or bombard them aurally. In time I hope that they will learn to appreciate what I like and I have been educating them on the differences between proper hifi sound and the compressed media. They do hear the differences but accept that portable machines mean they don't have to be fixed to a room to listen.

So, I think it is important that parents, if so minded, broaden the types of music that children are exposed to, but without pressure. To be honest, the audiophile community has always been a small one and will likely continue to flourish in these numbers. But I did take satisfaction recently, when I played my new speakers to my daughter - home built full range speakers - when she said she really like the sound, so there is hope yet (at least in my household)!

Regards

Myron

RE: Do young people listen to music?

Calvin:     What's this music?
Hobbes:   It's "The 1812 Overture."
Calvin:     I kinda like it. Interesting percussion section.
Hobbes:   Those are cannons.
Calvin:     And they perform this in crowded concert halls?? Gee, I thought classical music was boring!

RE: Do young people listen to music?

Listening to a spot of Chopin at school during my lunch break and whilst doing a bit of work I was confronted with a "Oh God we don`t have to listen to that rubbish do we?" I was on my own but the music was heard by someone passing the door. No, it wasn`t a pupil, but a member of staff. This was quite common so I didn`t bother after that - and they say education opens the mind and helps reduce prejudice. Makes you think.

RE: Do young people listen to music?

The issue of having a listening room and all that is, to me, not that different to the whole MP3 discussion, and it doesn't have a lot to do with the actual music listening habits.

I'm thinking of my own situation, for example. I live in a two room flat that I share with my girlfriend, so a music room, or study for that matter, is out of the question. The "fanciest" piece of equipment I use is a couple of Sennheiser headphones (the "standard" ones, HD202 I think). Granted, I have never been exposed to real audiophile equipment and sound because it's not common at all where I'm from.

I do, however, listen to music like a watch a film. You don't go around sweeping the floor when watching a film or reading a book. And I have a good window overlooking some trees that I can look out of while focusing solely on the music. But I do it off of my laptop, FLACs or high quality MP3, what have you, that sort of thing. I also use my media player a lot. Actually, I think that might be the best sounding device I own, a Cowon. So, I figure that places me somewhere in between - I wouldn't listen to some 128kbps MP3s, but I haven't even heard how custom speakers sound.

What I'm trying to say is it's all about the actual music listening. Sure, you want to be able to actually hear the music, but it's all a matter of reference anyway. If, in your life, you would've heard Beethoven as played only by an average orchestra in a small town, for example, would you not like it? You wouldn't know how it sounds played by the best of the best. Maybe it's the same with people listening to MP3s? I think it is for me.

But, to get back on topic and to the original poster's question, I think the answer is yes. I'm 24 and am not a music student or anything and music is really important to me. It's not all about background soundtrack, not even remotely. (Although, with the development of portable music players and everything, music is more... what's the word, ubiquitous? What kind of music, that's another discussion). Perhaps all is not lost? Ha ha.

Also, please excuse any possible poor wording on my part, as English isn't my first language. I fear I might've been too wordy in trying to get my point across.

 

 

Mircea

RE: Do young people listen to music?

There is a difference between to "hear" and to "listen". Most young people have not been brought up to play instruments nowadays- because it's slightly difficult and there are easier things to do- and the popular music of today does not condition them to listen by motivic/thematic development. They merely get a cyclical "hit" out of it. The essential musicality is lost. The market for classical music will shrink but never truly disappear.

RE: Do young people listen to music?

I have to disagree with you to an extent.  I'll be honest, I know many kids who only listen to music in the background, I do this as well.  However I also do have time where I'll just listen to music.  I'm 17 and after a long day of school or work or just wanting to relax.  I will sit in my basement and play music and just sit back and relax. To me it helps me think, it helps invoke my imagination and calms me down

Work

The effort involved may not be the only cause. Getting to know Khachaturian is probably easier than mastering video games. However, the social cost may be too high, especially for the young ones.

I've read about a school that penalizes miscreants by detention with classical music "bombardments". Perhaps the Sabre Dance.

Peer Pressure

'However, the social cost may be too high, especially for the young ones.'

Kids don't want to feel like nerds or to be made fun of. I liked classical music since I was about 5 or 6 years old but once I became a teenager, classroom peer pressure became my top priority. I could only tell my best friend (who played a Gibson Les Paul Jr.) that I loved listening to Stravinsky but then only raved about Hendrix and the Rolling Stones etc... to everyone else.

As a result, I grew up liking rock and jazz ie. Thelonius Monk, Hank Mobely, Todd Rundgren, the Grateful Dead, but that's a different animal altogether and shouldn't be catagorized with the arts because it's an incomparable comparison.

Kids have a lot of problems today and so I believe they're more likely to become attached to something if they feel like they're a part of it by their own free will. Dragging a kid to Beethoven's 9th may do more harm than good.

goofyfoot

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