Today’s Youth: Playing the guitar
A recent trend that seems to be prevalent in the youth of our society today is the desire to play an instrument. I am a musician and want to help explain from other’s experience as well as my own why playing an instrument is so popular among teens today. My father and other friends of his generation suggest that instrument playing has always been popular, but it’s popularity seems to have increased dramatically over the past 25 years. Testaments such as these compelled me to search for the answer to this increasing trend of playing an instrument.
One reason, and probably the most prominent one, is the longing to live the life of the music icons that are admired. Programming, such as music videos, feeds our imaginations about the musicians’ lavish lifestyle. An example of feeding our imaginations to a better lifestyle would be to examine music videos that contain live footage of concerts with a large mount of fans in attendance. A fairly mainstream hardcore act like Korn, for instance, contains footage in their video from a concert that displays literally thousands of fans in attendance. Musician hopefuls see the mass attention and want very badly to be appreciated in the same way. In addition to this, interviews on television stations like MTV relay opinions of the band over national television that many people might be able to identify with. Teenagers may place themselves in the “same boat” as these musicians and again gain imaginary aspirations of being a famous musician though identifications of similarity like opinions and musical influences. Young adults often associate the musicians life being one of carefree status that contain many rewards, such as being above the law and being able to have your opinions supported by fans. Young adults, in order to accomplish these aspirations, purchase an instrument and then begin practicing for a dream that will never come true.
Another reason that instrument playing has become more popular is due to the fact that there is so much more musical diversity and its accessibility through radios, compact discs, and music television stations.
In a recent survey I conducted of twenty adults, when asked the question, “Why do you think instrument playing has increased in popularity?”, the most common response was that over the past twenty – five years or so, the number of radio stations on the FM dial, in the Houston area have tripled. Genres of music such as rap, country, latino, classic rock, and modern rock have spread music into separate directions that are still being categorized today. These types of genres help kids realize that there are many frontiers of music that are accepted by society, and still others that are left to be explored, and thus, give way to both a diversity of music to be influenced upon and to pursue a genre that they enjoy.
Hobbies are something that everyone has and, in turn, gives way to a very valid reason of instrument playing today. With all of the modern conveniences that are available today, children growing up are presented with more free time on their hands to pursue their hobbies. As a way to pass the time, instruments such as the guitar become a hobby. In recent times, the pressure on kids to compete in sports as a hobby has diminished enough that parents are accepting instrument playing as a hobby, just as sports are considered a hobby. In another case, a friend of mine whom has participated in sports in the past believed he was not particularly cut out for sports and he began to play the guitar as a means of gaining an enjoyable hobby.
The causes that are stated above are very credible reasons to explain the increase in instrument playing among young people today. The longing for the glamour life, the increasing diversity of music, all combined with an era of acceptability of instrument playing as a hobby, will give way to a rational explanation to this trend and identify the origins of it as well.