The Grapevine

Why Old People Don’t Like New Music

Has it crossed your mind that modern music is often deemed “boisterous” or “too loud” by old people? If you belong to the younger generation, then you may be jamming to this type of music like there’s no tomorrow. But if you are somewhere in between the extreme age groups, then you may have developed a liking for modern music while at the same time longing for music that was played during your salad days.

No matter what age group you belong to, it is just undeniable that everyone’s preference in music changes with age. But what is causing old people to have this disdain for more modern songs? Is it because the older we get, the more we become closed-minded to changes and novel approaches to music?

Believe it or not, the answer to these questions are actually found in our brains. There are studies that show the human brain’s ability to distinguish chords and other musical elements degenerates with age. And so unfamiliar songs of the present time tend to sound the same to the ears of older people. This is perhaps the reason why they would always refer to modern music as noise.

Interestingly, Frank T. McAndrew PhD believes there’s a simpler explanation as to why old people do not like listening to new music, and it’s simply because of exposure. There’s this psychological theory called “the mere exposure effect” that the more a person is exposed to something, the more that person would tend to favor it.

This theory is actually evident in how companies market their products. The repetitive jingles and frequency of ads on television give viewers the impression that they would like such products. The same thing can be said about songs.

As for why old people develop a sense of dislike for new music, the answer is simple: they weren’t exposed to the modern elements of new songs back when they were still in their teenage to young adulthood years. These phases in our lives are very crucial for our development and growth as individuals, and so the music we hear during our teenage to young adult stages matter more to us than the music that we will hear later on in life.

People in their 30s stop discovering new music because they are quite busy with more pressing matters pertaining to their careers and family life that they hardly have time to listen to contemporary music, except for when they are involved in the music industry. As such, they become unfamiliar to the more novel sounds and would later on be the ones to tell the younger generation that the music they listen to just can’t be considered “beautiful music.”

The thing is, the music industry is always putting out new music for the younger people. The most common themes of modern-day songs tackle young love, peer rejection and concepts that are no longer relevant to older people. For the target market, they would love to hear this type of songs because they evoke emotions that are relatable to them. These emotions then turn to familiar memories, which affect our preference in music as we grow older.

listening to music Studies have shown that music therapy can improve learning, cognitive function, and symptoms of certain diseases. Pixabay, public domain