What Teens Listen to - and Why

Article excerpt

Urban, rural, and suburban teenagers have different listening habits when it comes to popular music, maintains Keith P. Thompson, professor of music education, Pennsylvania State University. "According to my findings, urban young people listen to music an average of 4.43 hours a day, compared to 3.54 hours for rural teenagers and 1.98 for suburban adolescents. For suburban teenagers, most of their listening is confined to the evening, since they engage in more after-school activities than either urban or rural young people," he adds.

In a survey of seventh- and eighth-graders, student participants listened to 10 recordings, including "Black and White" by Michael Jackson, "Too Legit to Quit" by M.C. Hammer, "Broken Arrow" by Rod Stewart, and "Good for Me" by Amy Grant, then grouped them according to meanings. Most teenagers rated musical elements, particularly rhythm, as the most important characteristic of a song, with lyrics a close second. Rural adolescents rated lyrics slightly above rhythm and other musical elements. …