Teach or Learn
- Abbey Music Lessons - Music lessons any age or style. Guitar, piano, bass, trumpet, drums, harmonica or voice. Paul Neathery, 414-541-8401, Milwaukee or Waukesha.
- ABC - Music news, interviews, features on the bands and artists making headlines, Billboard charts, who's who in music business and Top 40.
- Acoustic Finger Style Guitar - Learn to play guitar in open tunings. Listen to Fingerstyle MIDI music.
- Ellen Aleshire - Lessons flute, piano, guitar, vocal, 847-344-7787, Pleasant Prairie.
- Jay Allison
Teaches at a Charter School. Plays salsa with Punto de Vista Latin Orchestra, freelance jazz and Dixieland, trombone, Milwaukee.
- All Music Guide - Search for information by artist, album, song, style and recording label.
- Alternate Music Press - Acoustic, ambient, blues, classical, Celtic, electronic, folk, fusion, jazz, New Age and world. MIDI file links.
- American Music Conference
303 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 1214
Chicago, IL 60601-5298
- American Music Therapy Association - Connect mind, body and sound to bring about self-growth and empowerment through music.
- Berklee Music.com - Extension school, career center of jobs and gigs, for musicians, educators and professionals.
- Beginner Jazz Piano Arrangements Course - PianoGroove's founder, Hayden Hill, walks new students through expanding their jazz repertoire with this standard course for beginners.
- Ana Ruth Bermudez
Cuban cellist and cello teacher living, teaching and performing in Milwaukee. Attended the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia; and the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Performs regularly as a chamber musician throghout the state. Played in Festivals in Miami, Mexico City, Caracas, and in 2005 was guest soloist with the Haffner Symphony in Lancaster, England. Musical Resume (PDF 7k). Ana Ruth Bermudez, 414-540-5587, Milwaukee.
- Blank Sheet Music - Printable blank music pages of 8, 10, 14, 18 and 22 staves. Great for composers, arrangers and musicians. (PDF 21k)
- Judy Bowen - Pianist and teacher, also math tutor Judy Bowen, 414-259-0866, Milwaukee.
- Tom Brown
Retired from teaching private music students and at First United Methodist Church from 1978 to 2005 as Diaconal Minister of Music and Choirs, West Allis.
- Clarinet Bulletin Board - Questions, answers and information.
- Nicholas Contorno
Passed away February 4, 2014. Was Marquette Band Director from 1966 to 2006, Glendale Public Schools, Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Fiesta Italiana Music Director (16 years), retired. Taught at Kettle Moraine High School, built the band program there into an amazing organization. Wrote march music for marching season, planned marching programs, coordinated/directed multiple bands, repaired instruments, encouraged students to play in the WSMA contests in the spring, taught life skills and values.He played on occasion at Circus World Museum in Baraboo during summers when they had a band for the big top show. Very involved in the 1st Brigade Band of Watertown. Great musician who managed to draw things out of his students that they did not know were in there. His warmth and love for his students and the school staff were always evident. He was affectionately referred to as "Mr. C."
- John Daniel - Trumpet, Laurence University, Appleton.
- Margery Deutsch
- Candice Dillon - Candi's Piano Studio Candice Dillon, 414-334-3070, Brown Deer.
- Garageband.com - Review independent tunes to help talented bands with record deals.
- Guitar Center - Full online video course for $24.95.
- Guitar.com - Multimedia content, lessons, music clips, chord and scale generators, discussion boards, tablatures and articles. Record reviews, news columns and interviews with famous guitar players, gear list, manufacturer links.
- Guitar Book - Books and eBooks with downloadable audio. Onsite guides for tuning, stringing, how to practice and more.
- Guitar Player - News, articles, MP3, product reviews, lessons and interviews.
- Guitar Resources: Harmony Central - Info, links, news, products, instruction, tablature and forum for discussion.
- Guitar Tricks - Guitar lessons online with 150 free guitar lessons. We have electric guitar lessons, acoustic guitar lessons, over 300 beginner guitar lessons, rock guitar lessons, country, scales and modes, fingerpicking guitar.
- Recreation Dance and Music Classes - Community recreation classes. Ballet and Tap, Middle Eastern Dance, Ballroom Dance, Social Dance, Hip Hop/Funk Dance and Make a Joyful Noise. Info City of Greenfield, 414-329-5370.
- Andrew Hacker
Director of Bands, Waukesha South High School.
- Curt Hanrahan
Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at UW-Milwaukee. BFA in Music Education from UWM, Masters from UW-Madison in multiple woodwinds. As a freelance musician he has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Skylight Theatre and numerous Broadway productions and with such artists as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Maureen McGovern as well as with the Doc Severinson, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey, Nelson Riddle and Harry Connick Orchestras. Curt Hanrahan, 262-681-0684, Racine.
- Curtis Hart
Teaches general music, band and choir since 1986 and at Fairview Charter K-8 School since 1990, plays most instruments especially the French Horn, is a WSMA Master Adjucator and is music director since 1989 for many musical plays around Milwaukee. On April 14, 2005, the Civic Music Association awarded Curt the Excellence in Teaching General Music award (Curt was also presented this award in 1999). Milwaukee.
- Ravenna A. Helson
Instructor of Cello and Chamber Music, MYSO.
- Nancy Herro
Clarinetist. Executive Director of Civic Music Association. Grandfather was Joseph Skornicka, Superintendent of Music for Milwaukee Public Schools. Dad was Mr. Witte, trumpetist in MSO, and teacher at Walker Junior High School. Nancy Herro, Executive Director, 414-483-3223, Milwaukee.
- John Hibler
Accomplished performer on the flute, clarinet and saxophone. He was a member of the Melody Top orchestra for 23 years and performs with Broadway tours in Milwaukee and with The Milwaukee Rep's A Christmas Carol. Prior to retiring in 1999 he was Director of Bands at Brookfield East High School for 23 years. John is now a woodwind consultant to Hal Leonard Publishing Co. and an adjunct instructor at Wisconsin Lutheran College and Concordia University. 262-786-3839, Brookfield.
- How To Sing Smarter - Lots of free singing lessons where students can free up their voice and learn singing musicianship.
- Bob Hudy
Teaches music in the Brookfield schools since 1993, plays percussion, especially in musical plays.
- Ideas - Teacher resources, lesson plans, guides, tools, professional development opportunity, student site.
- The Indie Bible - Helpful music promotion tools and resources for the independent musician.
- Indie-Music.com - Resource for musicians and a place for listeners to check out independent newcomers.
- International Songwriting Competition - Candace Avery, 615-251-4441, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Intro to New Orleans Piano, with Jon Cleary - Jon showcases his friendly and accessible teaching method in this short lesson for beginners to the funky New Orleans piano style.
- Rene Izquierdo
- Sue Janke
Taught music in the public schools, plays in the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Summer Philharmonia, Philharmonia Racine and Kettle Moraine Symphony. Bachelor of Music Degree. Cello, Milwaukee.
- Mary Jirovec
Taught music in the elementary West Allis schools of Hoover, Madison and Mitchell from 1977 to 2008. Mary has been playing musical instruments since 1965, but especially likes the reed instruments and plays clarinet or sax for musical plays. Mary also travels to many countries to teach a variety of subjects.
- Amanda Johnson
Concertmistress with Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra. Teaches orchestra at Thomas Jefferson Middle School; orchestra and lessons at the Menomonee Falls North Junior High Campus; and private violin lessons in Madison since 2002. Brookfield.
- Faith Johnson
Worked as a music diagnostics teacher at Whittier, Tippecanoe and the West Side Academy schools near Milwaukee since 1975. Faith can play many instruments, but plays the oboe in musical plays, bands and orchestras. Faith also enjoys bicycling.
- Ron Kaspar - Piano lessons in Milwaukee area with reasonable rates. Your home or mine. Ron Kaspar, 414-421-4818, Franklin.
- Kids Research - Music research and education links and database.
- Know Your Instrument - Guitars and ukuleles, with buying guides. Mark Woodburn.
- John Knurr
Tuba, piano and trombone; tuba lessons. Taught music at Williams Bay from 4th grade on up for 23 years, Biography (PDF 13k). John Knurr, 262-728-5521, Delavan.
- Margarita Kontorovsky
Piano Instructor, Waukesha County Conservatory of Music.
- Launch - Discover latest new music, news, downloads, videos, sweepstakes and exclusive interviews and chats with upcoming artists.
- Legacy Recordings - The 60's Rock & Roll index.
- Luyben Music - Printed music, accessories, instruments. Established in 1947 as a place where both professionals and students could share experiences in the arts.
- Maestro Net - Price lists, instrument history, auction houses and dealers.
- Making Music Magazine - Bettter living through recreational music making.
- Making Music - Find your inspiration, discover the joy and wellness benefits of making music.
- MENC, The National Association for Music Education - To advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all.
- Mary Pat Michels
Orchestra Director, Frank Lloyd Intermediate School.
- Milwaukee Children's Choir - Boys and girls grades 1 to 12 rehearses at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St., Milwaukee. Phone 414-221-7040.
- Milwaukee Recreation Music and Dance Classes - Featured at the Milwaukee Public Schools, 414-475-8811.
- Guitar, Strumming on 6 Strings, Advanced Guitar Lessons, Begining Bass Guitar, String Ensemble
- Introduction to Piano, Broadway Hits, Music for Tots,
- Advanced Song-writing Techniques, Voice Lessons
- Drumline, Beginning Drums, Rock Band 101
- Milwaukee Municipal Orchestra, Milwaukee Singers, Golden Eagle Concert Band, Harmonica Club, Music Club.
- Youth Dance - Dance Drill Team, Hype Youth Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop Boppin', African Dance, Rhythm in Action Dance, Smooth Steppers II, Jazzy Tap Dance, Pre-Ballet and Ballet
- Adult Dance - Social Singles, Club Dance, Caribbean Groove, Western Dancing, Crash Course in Dance, Modern Dance & Improv Workshop, Charleston Workshop, Shim Sham & Trunky Doo Workshop, Ballroom Survival, Salsa, Salsa Party, Salsa Workshop, Country Line Dancing, Boppin', Steppin', Hip-hop, Break, Pop 'n' Lock, Salsa 'n' Merengue Dance, Vintage Swing, Swing Deluxe, Valentine's Dance, Tango Tonight, Tap Lessons, Polka Lessons and Wedding Dance Workshop.
- The Mode - Musician's online database exchange.
- Money Geek - A guide to careers in music that provides insight into the salary range, career options, and potential jobs within the music field.
- Music Books Plus - Books, videos, CD-ROMS and DVDs. Instrument and vocal technique, recording, live performance, song and fake books, music business, songwriting and publishing.
- Music Education Madness (1997) - The gathering place for music educators.
- Music Education Online
Claims to be "The most popular Music Education site on the Web."
- Music Educators National Conference
1902 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 20191-1502
- Music For Healing & Transistion Program - Lively and transforming course-of-study for musicians, music students and vocalists leading to certification as a Music Practitioner.
- Music Jobs - Music industry's central point for US professionals and employers.
- Musician Authority - Focuses on teaching beginners how to play a variety of instruments online.
- Musika Lessons - Laura MacAvoy, 877-687-4524, Milwaukee.
- MusicSearch.Com - Search music.
- MusicStaff.com - Find instructor by style and level for your instrument, online guitar lessons, music instructors lounge.
- Music Teachers National Association
617 Vine St., Suite 1432
Cincinnati, OH 45202-2434
- Doris Nadolny
String lessons and violin, attended Business School in college for 2 years, 414-543-1016, Milwaukee.
- National Association of Music Merchants
5140 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92008-4391, 619-438-8001.
- National Music Museum - World-reknowned collections of musical instruments and related materials in a museum and research center located on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
- Ken Olson
Retired from Muskego High School teaching music for 21 years. Master of Music Education from University of Illinois Champaign. Ken Olson, director, guitar, vocalist and clarinet, 262-594-2742, Eagle.
- Online Piano Lessons - Learn to play from the top online piano courses. Our music teachers give their expert opinions on each. Free online piano lesson videos to get you started.
- On Milwaukee - Comprehensive list of nightlife, events and movie listings.
- Open Music Encyclopedia, The - A search engine for tunes and musical themes. Only the melody needs to be known to search. The melody can be whistled or sung to the computer.
- Daniela Pardo - Teaches violin and viola at her studio in Glendale, Milwaukee. Ms. Pardo also coordinates and teaches the Suzuki Program at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and performs regularly throughout the state. Violist who has a Master in Music from UW-Milwaukee with emphasis in String Pedagogy. Musical Resume (PDF 7k). Daniela Pardo, 414-540-5587, Milwaukee.
- Piano Fingerings
Half scale (JPG 52k) and whole scale (JPG 44k).
- Piano Arts - Biennial piano competition, students and teachers. 2642 N. Summit Ave., Milwaukee 53211.
- Piano Keyboard - Piano and keyboard are one of the most famous instruments in the world. This page is an informative category for piano and keyboard. Include type of piano/keyboard, learning and how to section, repair, maintenance piano/keyboard.
- Piano Lessons Online - Learning piano, free lesson and videos.
- Piano Nanny - Learn to play the piano. Piano resource for students, teachers and parents. Piano MIDI files of solo piano music, tips on practicing and playing better, choosing the right teacher.
- Portal Wisconsin - Culture, dance, media arts, music, performance and visual arts, theater, history, environment and "for kids" sections.
- Practice Spot - Free resources for lessons, practice guides, helpful products, manuscript paper, teacher ideas, music dictionary,
- Private Lessons - Search for teachers by instrument style or composition in your area. Advice on motivation, fees, techniques and recitals. Annual membership $99.
- Public Domain Music - A reference site to help identify public domain songs and public domain music, royalty free music you can use anywhere and any way you choose, performance, sing-along, film, video, advertising, business, or personal.
- Sarah Pulfer - French horn lessons and performance. Sarah Pulfer, 414-336-2292, Milwaukee.
- Quiescence Music - Piano lessons. Learn to play in the New Age style with these free online lessons for beginning adults.
- Rhapsody Arts Center - A comprehensive community arts school serving the Verona and West Madison areas. Group classes include early childhood music, beginning piano, guitar, and voice, acting for children, and much more! We offer private lessons in piano, strings, percussion, voice and composition as well. Rhapsody employs a board-certified music therapist, who provides private therapy sessions in addition to group music therapy. Located at 271 S. Main St. Verona, WI 53593. Katie Cummings, 608-848-2045.
- Bob Rothwell
Passed away April 21, 2019. Taught music for 29 years in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Now retired, plays French horn and piano, Assistant Director with Suburban Concert Band. 414-744-2481, Milwaukee.
- Scales - Sheet music of all 12 keys for minor (JPG 10k) and major (JPG 10k) scales.
- Score On Line - Downloadable sheet music; includes classical, jazz and Flamenco for piano, vocal, strings, flute and guitar.
- Sensorinueral Hearing Loss - How it happens to musicians and how to prevent hearing loss. Sensorinueral Hearing Loss (PDF 25k),
- Ellen M. Shuler
Co-Department Chair of Music, Drama, Visual Arts at UWM.
- Don Sipe - Trumpet, Carroll College, Waukesha.
- SongFile - Music information contains: song listings for 2 million songs; a comprehensive guide to sheet music resources; the most complete CDs and tapes search on the Internet; a guide to the top music links on the Web; musical instruments classified ads; and detailed up-to-the-minute worldwide concert information.
- Sonic Net - Music and artist database.
- Darell Stachelski
Taught music in Milwaukee Public and New Berlin schools for 32 years. Now retired living in Greendale and plays the trumpet in brass groups or for musical plays. Started on trumpet in the Walker Junior High School Band in the 1950s.
- Sue Stachelski
Teaching music from 1971 to 2005 at Mitchell, Franklin and Jefferson schools. Lives in Greendale and plays the flute, piccolo and violin in orchestras and for musical plays. Her cousin is Doris Nadolny, violinist. Sue Stachelski.
- Stagepass.com - Find sheet music, software, song lyrics, tablature, notation, transcriptions, songbooks, lyrics, software, MIDI, CDROM, videos, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, choral, piano, keyboard, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, violin, harmonica, dulcimer, dobro, woodwind, brass, band, orchestra and strings. Also free software downloads and the latest Music News!
- Star Polish - Practical advice for unsigned musicians, commentary, reviews, advice.
- The String Academy of Wisconsin - At UWM, musical education with focus on violin, viola and cello.
- Strolling, The Ten Commandments of - Great tips for talented musicians who walk around the audience while playing a musical instrument.
- Squeezebox Night at Turner Hall of Monroe every third Tuesday of the month. Informal accordion jam sessions for all ability levels and squeezebox types. Info, Monroe, 608-325-3461.
- Support the Music
Music is being eliminated from school programs around the country, and that may have tragic consequences for many kids.
- Tom Traugott
John Muhr School Principal on Saturdays, otherwise works as Puchasing Manager. Plays the trumpet since 1955 in musical plays, bands and orchestras. Saukville.
- TUNEdb - Search for traditional tunes by notes or down-ups.
- The Tuning CD - Improves instrumentalist or singers pitch.
- Lauren Tushaus
Clarinet, violin and viola with BFA in Music Performance from UWM. Teaches all ages clarinet, viola, violin, piano and voice with BFA in Music Education. Lauren Tushaus, 920-246-3663, Brookfield.
- Vibe - Magazine mix of rap, hip hop, jazz and soul music. Video clips, celebrity chats and interviews.
- Viola Web Site, The - News and practice tips submitted by viola newsgroup subscribers.
- The Violin Tutor - Play scales, arpeggios, exercises and tunes. It's like having a teacher help you with your practice, everyday. Improves intonation and rhythm.
- Web Delivery of Music Instruction - Fulfilling the promise of technology by Steven G. Estrella.
- Nancy Wiecke
Teaching music since 1990 at Thomas More High School in St. Francis. Named Music Teacher of 2004 by Civic Music Association of Milwaukee. Nancy can play many instruments, but plays the flute in orchestras or for musical plays.
- Wisconsin Advocates for Music Education - To share information about reductions in school music programs that are proposed in school districts.
- Wisconsin Center for Music Education - Serves students, music teachers and community members with diverse music education programs and resources. WCME, 1005 Quinn Dr., Waunakee, phone.608-850-3566.
- Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - The oldest and largest non-profit independent music school in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Foundation for School Music - Booster Club challenge to recognize music booster groups across Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Foundation for School Music - Booster Club challenge to recognize music booster groups across Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Music Educators Association - To improve the quality of music education in Wisconsin by representing the shared interests and needs of music educators and fostering their professional growth.
- Wisconsin Online - Live entertainment, area band profiles and audio clips of their music.
- Wisconsin School Music Association - Challenging our youth to achieve excellence through music.
- Woodwind Fingering Guide - Over 2,000 basic, alternate and trill fingerings for flute, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, oboe and bassoon. Forum for asking questions and giving advice.
- Your Lessons Now - Singing, voice-overs, piano, guitar, strings, flute, harp and audio production.
Enhancing Your Child's Musical Experiences
Congratulations! Your decision to provide your child with a quality musical instrument is an investment in your child's future. In making it possible for your child to play a musical instrument, you are providing the opportunity for self-expression, creativity, and achievement.
Numerous studies indicate that parental attitude, support and involvement are important factors in a child's ability to successfully learn to play and to enjoy music.
This information is designed to assist you in giving your child the best support possible for his or her musical endeavors. Like any skill, interest counts far more than talent. With the right support from you, playing music will become a natural part of your child's life.
For Your Child
Music participation enhances:
For Your Family
- Problem solving
- Goal setting
- Memory skills
- Self-confidence and esteem
- and much, much more!
A child's music study also offers opportunity for shared family experiences, including:
- Musical event attendance.
- Family music-making.
- Performing for, and with, family and friends.
- Learning about the lives of the composers and the cultural heritage of Western Civilization.
- A sense of pride and accomplishment for the entire family.
How To Fit In
Always keep in mind that your support is a key element in your child's success with music study.
Schedule Practice Times Music
Music achievement requires effort over a period of time. You can help your child by:
Selecting a Music Teacher
- Providing a quiet place in which to practice.
- Remaining nearby during practice times as often as possible.
- Scheduling a consistent, daily time for practice.
- Praising your child's efforts and achievements.
Formal music instruction can help your child's progress. In choosing a teacher, consider these points:
To locate a music instructor in your area, consult your local school music teacher, music dealer, or the Yellow Pages. For a list of nationally certified private teachers, contact the Music Teachers National Association.
- Background and experience.
- Comments from other parents and students.
- Provisions for sharing music through performance.
What To Do
To give your child the best possible support, you should:
- Encourage your child to play for family and friends.
- Offer compliments and encouragement regularly.
- Expose your child to a wide variety of music, including concerts, and recitals.
- Encourage your child to talk with you about his or her lessons.
- Make sure your child's instrument is always in good working order.
- Allow your child to play many types of music, not just study pieces.
- Listen to your child practice, and acknowledge improvement.
- Help your child build a personal music library.
- Try to get your child to make a minimum two-year commitment to other music studies.
What Not To Do
Your child's progress will be greatly enhanced if you do not:
If Your Child Loses Interest
- Use practice as a punishment.
- Insist your child play for others when they don't want to.
- Ridicule or make fun of mistakes or less-than-perfect playing.
- Apologize to others for your child's weak performance.
- Start your child on an instrument that's in poor working order or condition.
- Expect rapid progress and development in the beginning.
In the event your child loses interest in his or her music studies, don't panic.
- Discuss the situation with your child to determine why their interest is declining.
- Talk to your child's music teacher to see what might be done to rekindle their enthusiasm.
- Encourage your child to stick with lessons for an agreed to period of time.
- Offer increased enthusiasm and support.
This guide has been developed in the interest of making music study and participation an enjoyable and richly rewarding experience for children and their families by the following organizations:
|American Music Conference|
303 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 1214
Chicago, IL 60601-5298
Music Educators National Conference|
1902 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 20191-1502
Music Teachers National Association|
441 Vine St., Suite 3100
Cincinnati, OH 45202-3004
National Association of Music Merchants|
5140 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, CA 92008-4391
How to Keep Your Child Interested in School Music
Julie DeRoche is Leblanc's Director of Performance Education, a frequent performer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and past president of the International Clarinet Association. Julie has some tips on what parents can do to keep their kids interested in school music after the initial excitement has worn off. Joining the band is fun. It enhances social development, creates an atmosphere of collegiality and friendship, and creates an environment that supports both group and individual achievement.
There are several things you can do to help your child maintain interest in a class that will help their development in many ways:
- Always encourage your child to practice, and give positive feedback, even if they are pretty rough at the start. Learning an instrument is difficult. They will squeak, play wrong notes, play out of tune and too loudly. Never complain about this. Praise their efforts.
- Attend all concerts, applaud loudly no matter what, and be happy that they are trying so hard to do something so good.
- Be sure that your child has all needed equipment, and that the equipment is in working order. Nothing is as frustrating as an instrument that doesn't play properly, reeds that are broken, valves that stick, etc. More important, if the instrument is causing the child's failure they vill often blame it on themselves rather than on the instrument.
- Make sure that there is a space in the household for practice, away from the rest of the family, away from the TV: computer, etc. Encourage and yes, sometimes require a set amount of practice time on a regular basis. Without practice, the child will not improve. And it is improvement that often encourages them to stay with it.
- If possible, get a private lesson teacher to supplement the band director's instruction. This extra information and attention really helps.
- Avoid a trial period, where you inadvertently give your child an opportunity to quit. Instead, just keep going. Sometimes by NOT asking the question of whether or not to continue, they simply continue.
Music and Your Teenager
Teens live their lives to the accompaniment of their own sound track - many listen to music as much as 40 hours a week. Some people point to episodes of teen violence - like the mass shootings at schools and ask: "Did the music make them do it?"
Unfortunately there's not much research on this question. However, there is none that finds a direct cause and effect relationship between explicit lyrics and behavior, says an expert on preventing risk to youth at the University of Wisconsin - Extension.
"But it is a concern because there seems to be a small subgroup of young people who are more influenced by violent lyrics. It seems to affect their attitudes - desensitizing them to violence and making them believe that violence is acceptable," said Mary Huser, a 4-H Youth Development Specialist.
One study of incarcerated teens tested the effect of violence in music and music videos. Researchers found that those exposed to more violent music were more likely to be involved in violent behavior than those who were hearing something else.
Music is central to young people and youth culture. It helps them discover their identity and decide what groups they belong to or which they don't. This isn't anything new. What is new is the controversy about lyrics and the intensity of the references to drugs, sex, violence and sexual violence. Some kids don't pay much attention to lyrics; others may be able to sing every word. In addition, their interpretations of what the lyrics mean may be extremely personal. A younger child may get an entirely different message than an older teen gets from the same song.
Music videos leave less to the imagination - the message is reinforced by the images.
A Department of Education study indicated that music videos have a very significant impact. Violent videos have a very significant impact. Violent videos may lead to desensitizing kids to violence. Videos also seem to have a strong effect on attitudes and behaviors concerning premarital sex.
The generation gap over popular music is nothing new. Parents now worry about violent rap lyrics. The parents of the '70s worried about the references to drugs and sex. The parents of the '50s worried about the driving new rhythms of rock and roll.
What should parents do if they're concerned about the content of the music their children listen to? Tom Riese, Waukesha County Youth and Family Development Educator, Professor in the Department of Youth Development for the University of Wisconsin - Extension, shares the following suggestions:
- Know what your kids listen to. Watch a little MTV and VHl to see what the videos look and sound like. Know what music groups your children like.
- If you don't like what you see and hear, don't condemn it or censor it outright. That's likely to cause a deeper rift and do more harm than good. Express your opinions and encourage a conversation about why you disapprove of it.
- Remember that the teenage years are a time of testing and rebellion. In the rare cases when a troubled youth seems to be greatly influenced by violent music, take your concerns to a professional counselor or therapist.
- Help kids develop media savvy. Teach them to think critically about what they read, watch and listen to. It's impossible for parents to monitor every song and music video that kids may hear or see, so parents and educators should help them develop selective viewing and listening skills.