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What teens listen to - and why.

Urban, rural, and suburban teenagers have different listening habits when it comes to popular music, maintains Keith P. Thompson, professor of music education, Pennsylvania State University. "According to my findings, urban young people listen to music an average of 4.43 hours a day, compared to 3.54 hours for rural teenagers and 1.98 for suburban adolescents. For suburban teenagers, most of their listening is confined to the evening, since they engage in more after-school activities than either urban or rural young people," he adds.

In a survey of seventh- and eighth-graders, student participants listened to 10 recordings, including "Black and White" by Michael Jackson, "Too Legit to Quit" by M.C. Hammer, "Broken Arrow" by Rod Stewart, and "Good for Me" by Amy Grant, then grouped them according to meanings. Most teenagers rated musical elements, particularly rhythm, as the most important characteristic of a song, with lyrics a close second. Rural adolescents rated lyrics slightly above rhythm and other musical elements. "Urban teenagers paid much more attention to a song if they could dance to it. For rural and suburban teenagers, so-called 'danceability' meant little."

The study also found that rural teenagers own more tapes and CDs than either their urban or suburban counterparts and are much more aware of the mood and uniqueness of a particular song. "Urban, rural, and suburban students were alike in describing rhythm as the most important musical element to them. They paid little attention to instruments and volume and none to melody or harmony.

"Up to the age of 10, young people watch TV together with their parents. After the age of 10, they tend to go to their room and listen to their radio, tapedeck, or CD player. Some of the dialogue between parents and children ends at that point." Once young people reach junior high school, they seldom discuss their musical preferences with their parents. This causes parents to question the influence of popular music on their children.
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Title Annotation:popular music
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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