Teenagers Explain the Power of Music in Life and for Cross-Cultural Harmony
Music expresses one’s emotions and ideas through voices and instruments. Most teenagers enjoy listening to music anytime during their daily activities such as studying, doing homework and playing games. Music is like meditation and yoga as it brings happiness and benefits to body and mind. It helps students concentrate on their study. Sunday Reviews (2013) reported that music has “opened up the pathways to creative thinking to many people…and music is the power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.”
During the IVECA Live Class on May 17, Taegwang High School in Korea and Packer Collegiate Institute in USA discussed the ways people listen and practice music and how people think music influences their life. The students exchanged their favorite songs, musicians and preferred genres of music and presented their fieldwork examining others’ perceptions on music. They interviewed their teachers, friends and family about music and musical education. With their overseas classmates connected through the video screen, these students exchanged their perspectives regarding how to learn other culture through music and musical performances. They also addressed how music should be taught in class and used to promote healthy communities, intercultural understanding, global awareness and most importantly to live together in harmony. Students came to understand that music is the universal language.
Both Korean and U.S. students realized that music has no national and geographical boundary. For them, music is all about love, joy, sharing common emotions, and making people feel better. A student highlighted it beautifully by citing Pope Benedict’s understanding of music: “Music has no borders, no race or color, no limit of country, no ethnicity. Music makes the people come together. Dance it, dance all.” They expressed their desire for future collaboration to learn more about each other’s music as global citizens. They believed that music can facilitate social development, cultural sensitivity and global peace.
One of the most important takeaways from this virtual class for Korean students was that popular music cannot be for everyone’s favorite. They appreciated learning from their US counterpart that some Muslims don’t listen to music partly due to their religious belief. For example, although rap songs are very popular among teens, they don’t enjoy such songs with offensive curse words and visual depictions. Instead, they listen to “Quranic verses from the Holy Book of Islam, which has a similar rhythm to that of music”.
After observing students’ interactions through presentations, discussion and music performances, Mr. Dejesus–principal of the High School at Packer remarked, “I myself am a great lover of music and found your exploration of this topic very inspiring. It was really interesting to almost be in your classroom on the other side of the world and to learn about the great work that you and your teachers are doing.” He then made the virtual meeting between the students more realistic by inviting Korean students to visit his school in Brooklyn New York.