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Musical Taste Development: What We Know

Smiling Listening to Music

“What kind of music do you listen to?” It’s an honest question that many of us use as a tool to get to know someone. What we’re really asking is “What are you like?” and “Do we have something in common?” Unless they’re into some really crazy obscure stuff, maybe you can hang out and listen to music together, or go see a live show. Knowing someone’s musical taste can open up a lot of doors toward building a personal connection with someone.

But what guides that taste? What shapes our taste in music? A lot of things, actually. From our personality traits, personal values, socioeconomic status, area that we grew up in, and what our parents made us listen to as kids, a wide span of factors influences what ends up being our favorite genre.

Remember when we told you about a study done by BrainDecoder that laid out the differences between Empathizers and Systemizers? Empathizers favored music that was “gentle, warm or sensual, a little sad, and poetic, relaxing or thoughtful.” Systemizers on the other hand preferred “loud, percussive, fast music with brass or electric guitar.” Though your thinking style plays a role in what kind of music you prefer, it is certainly not the only factor.

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Think this will still be us in our 80s? Photo Credit: AJ Apuya

They say that the “magic age” for the development of musical taste is 14, and our need for musical exploration and fine-tuning of taste continues and peaks at around age 24. If you’re past that age, never fear. They say that most people stop seeking out new music by age 33, but no one said you have to. Many people that age start to revert back to the music of their coming-of-age or their twenties, probably due to the potpourri of emotional ups and downs during these times.

Though that “magical” age spectrum for taste development may start a bit early, many of us in the scene are under the age where we supposedly stop seeking out new music. So what does that say about us as a musical generation? Will our grandkids be bringing us to massives in wheelchairs so that we can catch Bassnectar’s Never Retiring Tour 50 years from now? Maybe we can have low-key raves in the rec rooms at our retirement homes. Maybe artists like Pretty Lights, GRiZ, Chill Harris, and Big Gigantic will be the new typical “old people” music. Ah yes, the future is bright.

What do you think? Will we still revert back to the music of this era of our lives when we get old? Or are we doomed to learn to love smooth jazz?

via Music.Mic

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Hailing from the golden hills of California, Tina lives for sunny days in Seattle. With an expansive taste and hunger for both food and music, she loves all things from Celine Dion to Slipknot (and of course EDM).

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