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Why do teenagers have a strong attachment to music but view their band/choir/general music requirement as something to get out of the way?

This really boggles me. As a teenager myself, I see my friends constantly posting stuff about how music is their life and how they fangirl over bands they like, and how it "saves their life." Ironically, though, most teenagers in the general population of a school don't enjoy school music (choir/band). A theory I have is that they have a low self-confidence in their ability and they enjoy just listening and idolizing others and have limited confidence in their own, or that they dislike classical music because it is so different (although it's actually very much like pop music, with similar structure). So I'm wondering, what is your take on this ironic hate of school music?

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    Feb 24 2014: I remember the first time I heard Rhapsody in Blue in the 5th grade. I played in the band through 1967. While I enjoyed the music, it didn't move me like hearing Rhapsody in Blue.

    So much of the music I see in school now is a lead up to choir or band competitions. Creating a competition out of something that should be emotional takes the soul out of it.

    The question I have is this. Should music even be a class? Why can't it simply be an event?
    A simple 3 chord song on guitar can give a kid a real sense of accomplishment.
  • Feb 12 2014: Image and perception vs reality. I believe that the image of a pop star is appealing with the associated wealth, popularity and care-free lifestyle is what many teenagers crave - not the actual hard work of practicing over and over and over. Many often don't understand how much natural talent plays a roll. Take away all the Hollywood stardom, and you would take away the majority of the appeal.
  • Feb 11 2014: Generally, each generation wants something different from the prior and it is a sort of "quiet" rebellion. If you look back, Frank Sinatra was considered radical and not liked by adults but loved by the teenagers.
  • Feb 10 2014: Hi Dear Kevin,for teenagers what music they like I think I should respect them.Because I believe once people can enjoy one kind of music,they do can meet resonation from them,never force them stopping the listening but if you really want to help them you can listen together with them and talk about the music with them,I think it will help teenagers to seek in their lives.
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    Feb 7 2014: I think band / choir has a stigma attached to it - geeky perhaps and teenage years are a time to be very under-confident and self conscious. So you associate with what you think is 'cool'. Also, it can be terrifying to get up and perform in front of people. Listening is something you do in private.

    Plus band and choir play certain types of music - if you're into rap, you're hardly going to like band practice. Plus listening to music is very different to playing music. I use to play violin and found the whole thing very frustrating but love listening to it.
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    Feb 6 2014: there is a big difference between listening to and enjoying music and making music - i know guys that are bonkers over their music and yet cannot or will not sing or perform a song, even though they would love to.

    i think that the main reason for young folk loving music as you say but not school music subjects is because one is about music (choir, band) and the other is pop culture of which the music is only a small, sometimes irrelevant part of the entire package. i blame marketing for this - the pigeon-holes were marked out ages ago and now everyone can neatly pick and choose the 'best fit' band for their personality.

    also, there are pop songs that people identify very strongly with - i guess this is a mix of melody, lyric and sometimes memories.

    most people, i believe, will enjoy any kind of music if they persist with listening to it for a time. the fact is that a lot of pop music is constantly in your ears, the "backstory" marketing gimmick has become almost as important as the music and, of course, all that product placement creates a kind of wondrous fantasy world that everybody wants, at least a little bit.
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    Feb 5 2014: i didn't know any of this was true. I've never seen the TV show "Glee," is it about high schoolers in some sort of high school musical club or organization, and these high schoolers have some sort of passion for it? I thought this would reflect real life?

    I can mostly think that the musicians these kids look up to are exceptionally good ones at the top of their game and career, and it's more exciting to listen to their music than to go make music yourself that isn't as exciting or good?
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    Feb 5 2014: Kevin, There are a dozen answers ... For some there is a fear of failure ... fear of performing in front of others .... lack of talent .... the lack of willingness to work at the craft .... having a label placed on you as you have done for yourself (ChoirNerd) and so forth .... and the # 1 answer ... my girlfriend told me to.

    Want to get extra credit and impress your teacher .. read up on Phi 1.618 and the Fibonacci Series and their relationship to music ... then you will be the King Choir Nerd. By the way understanding Phi will assist you in art, music, nature, science, architecture, and almost everything. All around nerd????

    Being a good musician requires practice, practice, practice, dedication and then there is practice .... listening to music is a social requirement ... in our small rural town there are two types ... ropers and dopers ... when you get in the car/truck and the radio comes on you know .... Girls go to concerts because they "love" the singer ... boys go because girls are there.

    As for classical music ... bet the first time you ever heard classical was in a Disney cartoon .... the definition of a snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and NOT think of the Lone Ranger.

    I just answered to drop all of this old guy stuff on you and to wish you well. Thanks for contributing to TED.

    Bob.
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    Feb 5 2014: Many teenagers that are "into" music are actually into the social aspect of following a particular style or artist. It's not really about the music.
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    Feb 5 2014: Many people love music but not to sing themselves. Many love looking at great works of art but do not themselves enjoy painting. Many enjoy eating but not to cook. People love their jeans but wouldn't want to make them themselves on a sewing machine. People may love flying in an airplane but don't have a desire to pilot the plane.

    I don't know that I find these situations ironic. People simply take pleasure in different parts of these experiences.

    In terms of participation in school music groups, one phenomenon I have noticed is that some music directors are surprisingly grouchy. If your music directors are grouchy, kids may not like playing music in that ensemble. If your gym teachers are grouchy, kids might not like gym.
    • Feb 5 2014: 1) I get your first point and I see what you mean. I love to eat but I am far too lazy to cook :p

      2) as to your second point, my choir teacher is kind of "meh" about life herself. I'm not saying she's a bad teacher, she's pretty good and very helpful in piloting me toward my future. Maybe kids catch that lackluster attitude she brings to rehearsal. My band teacher, however, is one of the most passionate band teacher ever, yet that doesn't seem to resonate with the kids (no one practices). Maybe this goes back to what you were saying earlier, but this year it's a school wide phenomenon of no one caring in band, even in the Wind Ensemble (higher level group). He's extremely passionate but for some reason just cannot seem to nail enough in kids heads that practice is important. Also, you said people hate gym because of grouchy teachers- I agree. It seems like my gym teacher is just there and he just stands to the side, not really helping me though I'm probably the worst athlete known to mankind. I do get what you are saying about teachers with meh attitudes ruining classes. What about, however, when the teacher has passion? Why can he not ignite a sense of musical discipline?
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        Feb 5 2014: Passion for ones subject is a great attribute in a teacher, but passion is not always contagious. Some people love coffee or beer and love brewing them but that does not make me love those beverages. Some people love the smell of perfume and may blend their own essential oils, while I run by that section of the store trying not to inhale.
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        Feb 5 2014: what do you think the band teacher could do differently that would get kids interested?