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What is Human behaviour and music activities throughout time? Have you ever observed children on playground, the way they will play, get along together, laugh and fight with each other. Their actions and reactions can tell a lot about their emotions and motivations. Human behaviour is the term used to describe the conduct and actions of a person. Human behaviour can be classified as
1) reflex; which is base on instinct,
2)habits; which are learnt through repeated reproduction of it. Learning is the day to day activity of students, hence it is one of the habits of a student. Likewise, listening to music can become a habit and is regarded as a part of the growing up process. Students use music in their search of their identity and start to follow an idol/star. Music forms part of the youth culture, which has been proven by a study performed in 2005 in the USA where Roberts et al. reported that on a given day, 85% of 8- to 18-year-olds listened to music.[footnoteRef:0] Listening to music and student’s behaviour are obviously intertwined and psychologist studied the impact on behaviour of youngsters.
Positive influence of music on children.Have you noticed that some music gives you goosebumps? Music undoubtedly triggers neuron-chemical reaction in our brain and causes our body to react. It has been noted by researchers that music has an arousing effect, it can motivate someone and set a mood. In a study on mood management it has been proven that bad mood participant preferred energetic, joyful, rhythmic music. Explaining why students uses music to manage their mood swings. Music can motivate you but it can as well calm you. It has been tradition in every homes to put a lullaby to calm tantrums of babies. Giles(1991)2.1, confirmed that “mood calming” music showed positive impact on students that were lacking attention. Those who were disruptive began to show improvement in their behaviour and were able to refocus. Similarly Cripe (1986)2.2 showed an increased in attention span for children suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficiency and Hyperactivity Disorder) in the presence of rock music when doing activities. Hallam, Price and Katsarou (1998)2.3 made a study where students accomplished Maths problem while listening to a calming mood music.
The study showed an increase in the number of mathematical problem attempted. However what kind of music to listen to has more impact on behaviour than listening to music itself.In a study on the Effect of Music Distraction on Reading Efficiency2.4, 45 students of 8th grade were split into 3 groups; listening to classical, to rock while reading and no music. It was noted that the group listening to classical music out-performed the others. Researchers concluded that soft, slow-tempo classical music might be an effective tool to classroom reading, but it might become ineffective if used constantly.
Negative influence of music on children
Certain types of music such as rap, heavy metal, reggae often depicts sexual content, homicide, suicide and substance abuse message in their lyrics. Scheel and Westfield (1999)3.1 reported in their studies that there is a link between rock and heavy metal music and suicide. Many of the rock adepts, practice self-mutilation and showed negative emotional response which are the triggers of risky behaviour. Rap and Reggae music also showed a tendency in portraying negative emotions such as hated toward woman, homophobia and substance abuse. Fisher and Greitemeyer 3.2 showed boys who listened to misogynistic lyrics displayed aggressive behaviour toward women.
Children’s mind and moral have not yet developed and is still being remodelled , music depicting negative behaviour as fashionable, can make them adopt wrong tendencies at an earlier age such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Music industry authorities argues that children does not pay attention to the lyrics, however studies showed that children prefer to listen to music that express what they feel. Knobloch-Westerwick et al (2006) 3.3 have stated that most children though they cannot understand the lyrics fully,can grasp the feeling and message of the song. Thought studies have not clearly showed a perfect correlation between music type and negative behaviour, it is undeniable that listening to depressive music like heavy metal or aggressive music like rap is a hint that this child is suffering and may adopt risky behaviour.
As music educator it is our role to guide students on the type of music to listen to. It has been proven that music affects human emotions thus behaviour. It is of utter most importance for music educators to take lead and guide students, parents and other teachers on music choice because of ease of access to any type of music. Music now is becoming more visual with music videos containing hypnotic backgrounds, hidden sexual content and depict violent clues.As a result those videos have profound impact on child’s behaviour as it will affect the auditory memory, visual memory and frontal cortex responsible of emotions. Children will imitate what they see on music video.Many teachers in the USA have been reacting to popular song titled “DNA” of the K-pop Boy-band BTS on youtube and have testified that most students in class are whistling the melody and some are wearing same colour codes as on the videos. This shows how strong impact those music videos are nowadays and should be taken seriously by Music educators and parents.Classical music should be promoted and given more accessed at younger age to channel student toward a more positive tendencies.
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