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Making sense of music: meanings 10-18 year olds attach to experimenter-selected musical materials

Herbert, Ruth, Dibben, Nicola (2018) Making sense of music: meanings 10-18 year olds attach to experimenter-selected musical materials. Psychology of Music, 46 (3). pp. 375-391. ISSN 0305-7356. E-ISSN 1741-3087. (doi:10.1177/0305735617713118) (KAR id:61608)


What do young people hear when listening to music? Despite substantial literature addressing children and teenagers' use and experience of music, little research has focused on their holistic (both intra and extra-musical) understanding. This article reports on the third stage of a mixed-method nationwide UK enquiry concerning young people's subjective experiences of music. This stage focused on meanings 10 to 18 year olds attach to music. Participants from varied socio-demographic and music backgrounds (N = 84) listened to 20 short musical extracts through headphones, to which they gave free written responses. Reports highlighted shared cultural references, and the prevalence of perceived meanings indirectly related to or detached from the original musical source. Individual differences in age and training mediated musical meaning-making: 10 to 12 year olds were most likely to report induced affect, employ self-reference (including self-in-scenario visualisations), and demonstrate vicarious experience through music. Increases in analytical listening, apparent from c. 15 years of age were primarily training-related. Participants aged 16 and above tended towards evaluative, detached modes of reporting, regardless of musical training level. Findings demonstrate that holistic understanding of music is subject to significant flux across adolescence.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0305735617713118
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF41 Psychology and philosophy
M Music and Books on Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Ruth Herbert
Date Deposited: 03 May 2017 19:02 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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