My kids love Billy Talent. Most of you are probably asking yourself, “Who?” No it’s not the latest Broadway musical or a teenage all-boy pop band.

Billy Talent is a rock alternative/punk band right here from Toronto. For some reason, there are a few songs that my kids absolutely adore. For some reason… well it must be because their mommy listens to their music. But I also listen to every other genre as well. Why do you gravitate towards this particular band?

In the car, the Boss will request to hear “Fallen Leaves” over and over and over again. He has heard the song so many times now that he has memorized the lyrics.

I once played another of their songs, “Surrender” on YouTube and now they constantly request to watch the music video.

I had my video camera handy when I was playing their music outside on the patio and caught a memorable moment on tape:

So this whole “obsession” made me wonder why? Why this particular band? Genre? Singer? Music?

Will my kids grow up to be pure heavy metal tongue-thrusting middle-finger-pointing tattoo-laden teenagers? If I pushed classical music on them, would they become smarter?

The Boss already has an acoustic guitar and bangs around on his “electric” guitar. Both also like to bang on my piano. I can picture the Destroyer head-banging while playing the guitar while the Boss plays the drums and sings lead vocals.

Is there an innate reason for their attraction to certain music? Why do some kids like pop and others rap?

I know it may seem obvious but I did a little research and found that children do say it’s the sound of the music that attracts them to their favourite music. Lyrics play a more important role in teenage rap and heavy metal listeners.

With Billy Talent, I’m guessing that that my boys love the guitar riffs and the tempo of these particular songs, along with the singer’s voice.

What I also discovered was that race and ethnicity are the most powerful predictors of music taste. For example, 70% of a broad sample of black teenagers reported rap as their favorite music type, while only 22% mentioned either pop rock or “Top 10”. Very few cited rock, heavy metal, punk or country.

With the exception of the pop/Top 10 category, the preferences of white youth were distributed much differently: both rock and heavy metal drew a quarter of responses and only 13% mentioned rap. (Reference: Handbook of children and the media by Jerome L. Singer, 2002).

Also interesting was the fact that gender is as nearly a powerful predictor as race. Two primary gender differences emerge from the research on music preferences. The first and most fundamental musical gender gap is the separation between pop (female) and rock (male) tastes.

Whatever the historical era and whatever the population being studied, females exhibit greater attraction to the softer, more romantic, more mainstream forms, for example, pop, Top 40, disco, soft rock, Top 40.

On the other side, males tend to gravitate towards the harder-edged rock forms such as heavy metal, hard rock, punk, grunge and psychedelic rock.

So while my sister’s daughters are listening to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, my boys will likely end up being Billy Talent fans for a long time!

And wouldn’t it be cool if my head-banging rock-loving boys end up being rock stars too!

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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