Firebirds’ musical tastes lean toward rap, pop

Firebirds musical tastes lean toward rap, pop

Fairmont sophomore Kathryn Westbeld listens to her iPod during a quiet moment in the school day. Of Fairmont students responding to a survey, 74 percent said they listen to music by iPod or other mp3 device.

From the earliest days of humans drumming their fingers on the walls of their dwellings to today’s headphones pumping out the hottest tunes on the Billboard Top 200, music has been an integral part of people’s lives. The radio stations may play more LMFAO than Liszt these days, but an astounding variety of musical genres are available.

However, some wonder if there’s a genre of music that’s dominant over all – akin to the classical operas of the 1800s or the swing of the 1920s. Fairmont students have been asked the question, and their answers give a result that may reflect the way people across America listen to their favorite tunes.

Students have diverse tastes in music

In a Flyer survey of Fairmont’s students in grades 9-12, 130 students responded to questions asking what music they listen to, how often they listen to music, and what they listen to their music on.

Students were asked to choose their three favorite genres of music, and overall the genres of rap/hip-hop and pop music were the top genres with 15.8 percent of the vote each. Country was in third place at 11.6 percent, followed by alternative artists like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace at 10.5 percent. Classic rock artists like AC/DC and Aerosmith found themselves trailing with 8.8 percent.  Artists not in any listed genres found themselves in the “other” category and garnered 8.3 percent of the vote. Five percent or fewer of the total votes were classified as techno/dance, metal, punk rock, oldies or jazz/blues.

Fairmont’s statistics seem to follow the trend in America – hip-hop and pop on top of the charts, with country and rock close behind. Some attribute the success of rap and hip-hop to the way these artists often release music – more often than not in a single rather than an entire album like most country or rock artists do.

One “other” genre many students specified was dubstep, a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London in the United Kingdom. Of all surveys marked “other” with a specification, about 60 percent were dubstep.

Fairmont senior Evan Barnes believes the high number of dubstep fans isn’t going to last. “It’s a fad,” he said. “It has its good moments, but it’s going to die.”

Music fills many teens’ days

The amount of time students listen to music also varied widely, although many – about 40 percent – said they listen to music for two to five hours every day. Another 25 percent said they listen for 10 or more hours, while 18 percent said they listen for about an hour or less a day, and 16 percent put the number at six to nine hours daily.

To see just how much music 10 or more hours a day really is, consider this:  Students spend just a little over 6 hours each day in class or advisory,  where they typically are not allowed to listen to music. Add another eight hours for sleep, and the total hours without music is about 14 hours. This means that those who listen to music for 10 hours or more are probably listening to music all through lunch, through all of the class changes, in addition to almost all of the time they spend at home, assuming they get an eight-hour rest each night.

One student who listens to music this much is Fairmont sophomore and WKET-FM Kettering broadcaster Alyssa Ogden. “Music means a lot to me,” she said. “It’s everything I can’t describe with words. It really brings out inner emotions.”

Barnes says music is an important part of his life, too. “Music is the outpouring of emotion in whatever way you can,” he said. “Some people make art, some people write stories or film movies. Others create music.”

MP3 players lead in popularity

Of the students in the survey, the majority (74 percent) said they prefer to listen to their music on MP3 devices, compared to 26 percent who choose the radio. With many of today’s cars being outfitted with USB devices and other ways to link iPods and other MP3 players, the statistics are no surprise. The lack of commercials and the ability to choose one’s own music is an appealing factor.

Ogden finds herself nodding at these results. “A lot of people have opted to listen to their iPods because they listen to enjoy the music,” she said. “With radio, you have commercials, you can’t rewind, you can’t pause, etcetera. There’s also the problem with getting signal.”

Fairmont junior Spencer Smith agrees. “You can honestly sum it up with one word: iPods,” he said. “Music is mobile now. You can listen anytime, anywhere.”