Generic style music preferences of urban South African students.
The purpose of this exploratory study was to measure the music preferences of South African, junior secondary students and to find out what variables had an influence on their music preference decisions. LeBlanc's (1982) Model of the Sources of Variation in Music Preference was used as the theoretical background and guide to the choice of variables for this study. After a pilot test, 10 generic styles made up of Popular and Classical music excerpts were chosen for the listening test. Through purposive sampling, a total of 548 students were chosen from schools in three urban settings in South Africa. The sample was made up of African, Coloured, Indian and White students of both genders. Only a small percentage of musically trained students were part of this sample. From LeBlanc's model, The Listener set of variables included musical ability, musical training, sex (gender), ethnic group (race and home language), socio-economic status and age were investigated through both the quantitative and qualitative methods of research. Similarly, The Music set of variables included the physical properties of stimulus, the complexity of stimulus and the referential meaning of stimulus were also used The Environment variables that were used were, the media, the family, peers, educators and authority figures. The quantitative data was obtained through the listening test where students indicated their music preference on a 5-point rating scale. The qualitative data was acquired through in-depth interviews and behavioural observation of students during the listening test. Data from this behavioural observation procedure was abandoned due to insufficient detail of results. From the answers to four of the main research questions it was found that Reggae was the most preferred generic style of music while Western Pop, Gospel, S A Pop, Jazz, Rock, Traditional African, Western Choral, Western Classical and Indian Classical were rated in descending order. An overwhelming preference for Pop music over Classical music was indicated and this was seen as typical of the music preference of adolescents in countries abroad In a test-retest design, only three styles out of ten showed a difference in students' preference ratings over a short-term period Significant relationships were found to exist between students' preference decisions and race, home language and age. Musical training and sex were Significantly related to the preference decisions of only 3 and 4 generic styles of music, respectively. Lyrics and rhythm were indicated as most influential in students' liking of music, and fast tempo, slow tempo, instruments, melody and harmony had a decreasing influence over students music liking. Media had the most influence on students' preference ratings and peers, the second most influence. Family and educators showed lower influences over student's music preference ratings. A prescriptive discussion on how to use these results within South African education was presented and a recommendation for future researchers concluded this study of generic style music preferences of urban South African students.