Music – representation of culture

We all know that different races and cultures have different styles of music. After studying in ASU for a few months, I see that people, no matter whether they are teenagers, white, black, or Asian American, like going to bars at night to drink with friends and listen to the rock music. In daytime, they go to school and go to work. Once Thursday night comes, people start hanging out together to having parties, drinking alcohol, and play loud music, most likely rock, R&B, and electronic. I can see all these happen not only on the street with bars, like Mill Avenue, but also inside school and dorms. Students sometimes organize parties and bands playing music starting from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and sometimes to the morning of next day. After Thursday, they keep opening parties until Saturday night, or Sunday night to some party people. This is the culture of the America in my eye. Since music is an element in culture, the type of music I usually hear in malls, bars, and school is rap and rock.

However, the music people usually play in China does not similar to the mainstream of America music. Due to the characteristics of Chinese culture, people like music that is slightly slow, quiet, euphemistic, and meaningful. My American roommate sometimes asked me why I always listened to sad music like someone of my friends or acquaintance had bad experiences; while he was playing his electronic guitar. Our house is always like people having band in the living room and people having funeral in the bedroom. People may say that American music can also be so quiet and Chinese music can be so loud, but the mainstream of Chinese music is mostly quiet, which is the reason why I did not know what ‘real’ party is before I came to America. In addition, because of the education from parents when we were young, we learned to listen to quiet music. Chinese parents often force their children to start learning different skills before 5 years old. They wish their children to be skillful and successful, as well as logical, in the future. Some studies state that playing piano in the first few years of our lives will make ourselves to be logical, rational, creative, and smart in the rest of our lives. One of the possible reasons of why Chinese students are good at mathematics and academic studies is that they learn what they are supposed to learn a few years before the supposed age. For example, you are supposed to learn algebra in grade 3, but they already learn it in grade 1. When they are in grade 3, they can easily handle the things they have learned, get high grades, and spend the rest of time to learn other things that is supposed to learn in the future when non-Chinese students are trying to figure out what algebra is.

Therefore, music is not only an entertainment or a career, but also a tool for people to improve their level of logical mind, which means that music does benefit you in lots of things you encounter in your life. I am not saying Chinese people are smarter than other people are, but music does boost your mind. Music belongs to culture. Different types of music have different characteristics, so different cultures also have different characteristics.


One thought on “Music – representation of culture

  1. You offer a different comparison/contrast between music styles and how they connect to individuals based on culture. I’m wondering how you might more clearly tie this to stereotypes and representations in media? You begin to touch on some of this–connecting this to concepts from class would be helpful.

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