In the third music presentation of the day, Alexandrea Lushington began with a story of her childhood. As a child in the sixth grade, she would wake up every morning and watch music videos on MTV. This was when she discovered Jason Mraz, her favorite singer to this very day. She says she still listens to music every morning, and now she seeks to explore the ways in which the music a person listens to may shape and define the person they grow up to be.
Alexandrea presented an “Identity Tree” which describes general aspects of a person’s overall self-identity. The branches of the tree include aspects of a person such as religion, sexuality, and nationality. She says that these are things that express qualities of ourselves that we cannot describe in specific words.
Adrian North and David Hargeaves are cited in Alexandrea’s presentation as saying that music is used by children and teenagers as a “badge to judge others and themselves.” Most of the time, as we develop our self-image, we use groups to help define ourselves. These groups can include social, racial, and age groups. The more people there are in one’s own group, the easier it is to survive in a social sense. Bullying, for example, is easier to overcome when one has a strong support group.
This is where music comes in. Music groups are easy to form. By finding a number of other people who enjoy and identify with the same type of music as you do, it immediately becomes easy to join or form an “in-group,” a select group which becomes a comfortable group which offers support and adds to our overall identity and self-perception. At this point in her presentation, Alexandrea returns to her previous Powerpoint slide of the Identity Tree. Now, each branch has music added to it, and Alexandrea states that music cannot solely define who one is. Rather, it is only one aspect of the greater picture one person may have of themselves.