Psychology of Music Essay

Personal identity is something that is greatly impacted by the world of music for almost all of us, as it gives us a sense of belonging and an identity to formulate around. Personal identity can be defined in many different ways when looking from alternate perspectives, however from a purely psychological standpoint identity can be seen as the distinct personality of an individual which possesses cues that the person wishes to be associated.

Therefore providing a platform in which defines both the individual and others in terms of similarities and differences. Personality holds a great deal of ones identity as this is something that can be altered, modified and expanded. Personality is “The sum total of the behavioural and mental characteristics that are distinctive to an individual. (Oxford dictionary of Psychology)Our perception of our identity is something that is linked to how we as individuals feel we are placed in society as the social identity theory suggests, A theory that Polish social psychologist Henri Tajfel (3. ) developed suggesting that people naturally begin identify with groups in such a way as to maximize distinctiveness and to belong to a group that offers us a sense of identity and provide us with self-esteem.

As the following of the norms of these groups gives us a sense of belonging and provides us with a sense of normality alongside that of individuality. This shows that personal and individual identity many not be as personal as once thought, but more closely tied with group identity. Identity of any kind is something that can be argued to be un-original for many, as the influences of such identity formulation are attributed to that of existing social norms, values, peer groups, media, political outlooks etc.

Therefore personal identity is something that we must pick from the world around us, something that we synthesise out of what is out there in the world, essentially it is somewhat of a pick and mix of what best fits our social needs and aspirations, some that is extremely prevalent in music The associations we make with music are just as important in terms of formulation identity, as during key transitional periods we associate certain music with coolness and music that is not cool. This is something that is affected by pressure from our peers during adolescence, and can ormulae our relationship with music and control our pathway in terms of identity. Here we associate ‘good music’ with ‘cool music’ and therefore it is something that we try to emulate and reproduce in order to be cool and socially accepted. During adolescence identity crisis is often determined through commitment to a particular identity, in this time the media has a great deal of impact into the formulation of identity as they provide sources of inspiration, information and advice about the possible decisions that are to be made (Arnett, 1995).

Moreover It’s argued that music plays a more significant role in adolescent development than any other kind of media input (Larson et al. , 1989), and music for many adolescents is regarded as their main leisure activity and one of their music is one of their most cherished belongings. As it is thought that music is one of the prime mechanisms in coping with the changing of moods and state of mind. Something that North et al. (2000) demonstrated in their study of British adolescents. In this study adolescents were questioned about their drive for listening to music. Of the 2465 participants aged 13-14 years of age when presented with a listing of 12 potential reasons why an individual may listen to music and were asked to provide a indication of the gradation to which each reason related to their own listening activities.

Answers that proved to be the most popular were that of relieve stress and tension and to express emotional needs. Although this study seemed to go further than supporting the view that music is that of a mood regulator and suggests that music may be directed by ‘impression management needs’ and put light upon other factors such as the creation of self-image, to be trendy or cool and to please their peers.