Notes: Music as Identity

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The music you listen to is a choice (in some way).


Think of it this way. Elementary school students may like the latest pop idol (Justin Bieber or whatever). More likely than not, those same students will NOT like “The Bieb” in a few years. What explains this? The music has not changed, yet suddenly it’s ability to be enjoyed has?


This is an issue of identity - at some level, we choose the music that we want to be identified with. Do you think it’s a coincidence that people who listen to the same type of music often dress similarly? No. Of course, it’s not.


Why do friends often like the same music? It’s because people - in one way or another - see liking (and disliking) certain types of music as an opportunity to fit in with a larger group.



Without getting too specific, there are a number of social groups who identify themselves as being individual. However, there is an inherent flaw with the previous statement. Is it possible to join a group of individuals?




Celine Dion

  • She’s somebody who nobody you know probably likes, but she’s huge all over the world!
  • In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time.


If your decision to like music is based on a desire to be identified with some larger group or concept (either conscious or subconscious), then it should be easier to accept other forms of music as having value.


Too Quick to Judge

  • People are too quick to say “that song/band suuuuucks!”. The moment you do that, you’ve stopped listening. Almost all of us do it - I do it all the time (although, I’m working on it).
  • Big Question:
  • Why music is important to you and what songs/bands/genres do you feel “identifies” who you are as a person?


  • Why do you love this music?
  • What music do you “secretly” love? Why is it a secret?
  • What do you think your musical choices say about you?
  • What do you hope it says about you?


Preparing your Audio Biography

  • When did you first hear this song?
  • What does this song represent to you?
  • Is there a specific moment in the song that is significant to you?
  • Is this a piece of music that you share with friends or family? Who?
  • Is this a “guilty pleasure” song?


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