What’s the Meaning of Music?

Kate DiGraziano, Reporter

How long could you go without hearing music in this world? Two days? One? A few hours, if that? Personally, I can rarely go an hour. If you simply observe, it’s not difficult to tell which people need music in their lives, which people don’t mind it, and which don’t need much of it at all. What, then, does this presence (or lack of) music in our lives say about us as people? Suddenly curious this morning, I began to ask around to find out.

“I like fast-paced songs,” said Wantagh High School Senior Andrew Grabkowitz. “I don’t like music that bores me.” When I asked Andrew what his favorite band/artist was, however, he told me he “didn’t really have a favorite band,” but rather, “favorite songs.”

Senior Emma Carey had a different take. “Lana Del Rey is my favorite artist, mostly because of the creative and descriptive language she uses in her lyrics,” Carey said. “How does her music make you feel?” I asked., “Happy and sad at the same time,” she said.

It seems, often, that one’s taste in music says quite a bit about one’s personality and interests. Someone like Emma would be typically perceived as more sentimental than Andrew, wouldn’t she? People that listen to music for the meaning as well as the feeling must, to some degree, seek to fulfill a creative or emotional need they don’t quite get from silence.

“I like how Led Zeppelin tell stories through their lyrics,” said Senior Victoria Frusci. “And I like how they’re fantasy-based. It’s really original.” From what she told me, it seems Victoria seeks art in music – she listens to bands like Led Zeppelin, whose lyrics are centered on storytelling. What’s interesting, however, is the popularity of Zeppelin, and the concept of millions of people around the world enjoying their music. Do all of these people, then, seek art in music too? Or do they simply listen to it for the sound? The feeling? The beat?

“Outside of school, I rarely go an hour without listening to music,” Emma told me in contrast to Andrew, who can, “Usually go all day.” This, too, seems to set them apart. One seems almost to need music in her life, while the other could easily survive without it. Is one, then, a deeper thinker than the other? It may be silly to base one’s thought process simply on the music they listen to and how often they do it, but, all hipster bias aside, it seems as though it may have relevance.

. What seems also to have potential relevance is appearance. Just look around the hallways next time you’re walking to class, or at strangers as they pass you in New York City. That girl has headphones in her ears, and so does that guy! But he doesn’t! That woman’s wearing a Joan Jett T-shirt, and that boy’s shirt says Blink-182, but that man’s wearing a suit and tie! Does the suit and tie man’s professional image suggest a lack of music in his life? Does the girl’s earphones suggest a recurring presence?

Perhaps these factors have relevance in some cases and not others. Perhaps they have little to no relevance at all. What seems to be true, however, is that most people enjoy some kind of music. What seems also to be true is the enjoyment of “most” people at a concert of their “some kind of” music of choice. Whatever the degree of one’s music obsession, I find you can’t quite deny the beauty of one thousand people in a crowded concert venue, dancing to the same beat with one thousand different feelings, singing back the same lyrics for one thousand different reasons.