Music is a lot of things to many people. The perception of music by a group of people determines the function it serves to that group. Wikipedia defines music as an art form whose medium is sound. From this definition we can deduce that music is used to paint pictures, inspired either by reality or imagination, with the aim of stirring emotion or appreciation in its listeners. Music is a powerful tool that also has an equally powerful effect on the course of nature. It might interest you to know that playing music to an unborn baby can steady the foetal heart rate and reduce kicking in the womb.
I believe that music can be used as a tool to solve social vices and I hope that you come on this journey with me to see my strong reasons.
Social vices start from negative habits that are being given expression in the society. Studies show that social vices are a result of antisocial behaviour which could be gotten from interaction with family or other people. It has also been observed that a high population of the youth is involved in social vices. Some researchers at the University of Leeds explained that the period between ages twelve and twenty two holds memories that contribute to the primary development of one’s self-image, for example: the outcome of relationships at this stage can go a long way in shaping a person’s perception of the world around him or her, if their trust was betrayed at this period, they become suspicious of people generally, like the saying goes ‘once bitten, twice shy’, here it is more like four times shy or five times shy. LOL.
It is, however, in searching for their true self-image that some youth get entangled in the wrong examples/ portrayals. We can use music to paint pictures of the type of image they are supposed to adopt; their true image, music content that portrays an image of responsibility, an image of hard work, an image of optimism and an image of maturity. It is then in searching for their true self-image that some youth get entangled in the wrong examples/ portrayals. We can use music to paint pictures of the type of image they are supposed to adopt; their true image.
I chose some musical legends as case studies based on popular opinion. I selected Fela Kuti, Lagbaja and Onyeka Onwenu. These artists were constantly making music to influence positive social change, encourage social fairness and educate about tolerance (one of Nigeria’s foremost needs right now). Fela used music as a political weapon. Onyeka Onwenu’s songs emphasized the importance of unity. Due to the content of their music these artists became opinion leaders, to the extent that even in death, Fela influences public perception and opinion on matters today, through his music.
We can also use music to address the pressure that pushes the youth towards negative things, and then provide alternatives that will have a lasting positive effect on generations to come. According to the author, Daniel Levitin, “Music of our teenage years is fundamentally intertwined with our social lives”. The youth will listen to what they can relate to. We can, through music, employ the agenda setting theory which I borrowed from the Mass Communication field. The theory explains how the media is able to determine what issues the audience see as important, and how this is achieved by consistent display of the message. The same principle can be applied to the music scene in Nigeria.
Our music should model the moral values we want to sell/ pass on to/ see in the youth. I conclude paraphrasing the president of the United States, Barack Obama, “Music should not just be a mirror of what is, but a reflection of what should be.”
(Written By rap artiste, Miraculous Nwaka, also known as ‘4runner’ : @4_runner116)