Rebecca Marsh

Equinox Staff


It’s the beat, the rhythm, the notes–it’s when music enters the ears and goes into the body, running, coursing through the veins of the individual using their sense of hearing.

Music is what makes that individual unique and defines who a person is. It gives a person emotion, a sense of being in the moment, whether it’s sad or happy, lonely or welcome, mad or glad. Music helps shape the world.

However, a person’s preference in music varies. During an informal survey conducted on the Keene State College campus, 50 students were asked who their favorite artist or band was among the ones they were given to choose from, their favorite genre of music, and what music meant to them. These results showed just how unique music is to the individual listener.

A poll containing eight artists given to students showed that the band Mumford and Sons received the top vote of 32 percent of the people surveyed, with The Beatles coming in second with 20 percent of the votes. Third place was given to the country singer Taylor Swift, with a total of 16 percent.

The Who and Skrillex tied for fourth place, both with 12 percent of the votes of students surveyed, and Lupe Fiasco received four percent of the votes tallied. Lady Gaga and All Time Low each received two percent of the students’ votes.

Based on the results, the KSC campus has a wide range of music tastes, but the students favor the styles of Mumford and Sons and The Beatles.

According to others, Taylor Swift’s music showcases what some newer music is all about: repetition. “The new music is way more repetitive. Often the song will have three or four chords,” James Chesebrough, associate professor of music, said. Yet for some, music is more than just pure sounds–it’s about the message.

Junior Meghan Bouffard said, “It’s a form of expression. I like music with good lyrics and instruments.” The lyrics and instruments present in music are what music is all about for others, and these lyrics and sounds vary depending on the genre.

Out of the 50 KSC students surveyed, the favorite genre is country music with 32 percent of the vote. Indie music and rock music tied with 16 percent, followed by classic rock with 14 percent.

The genres punk rock, dubstep and hip-hop each received six percent of the vote from the students who were surveyed, and rap came in last place with four percent of the vote. Though country placed first for the favored genre of KSC, the subgenres of rock combined is more than what country received. This means the top two genres of those surveyed are country and rock. Country music used to be branded as a no pass zone, according to a USA Today College article from February 2012.

The article introduces the idea that recently country music has taken a turn for mainstream, saying, “Country music has gotten a makeover and has been invited to sit at the popular table for lunch.”

Another type of music that has been on the rise is dubstep. While many do listen to dubstep or other forms of techno, this genre of music received the lowest vote in the survey conducted. According to a USA Today College article from June 2011, dubstep has hit many of college newspapers and is the new craze among college-age people.

At KSC, though, the results of the survey do not meet those findings. KSC shows a different take on things by going in a completely opposite direction with country on its back.

In the span of 15 to 20 years, Chesebrough said that the music scene has changed. “Melody isn’t as important to the current music scene,” Chesebrough said. He continued, “Rhythm is really important. A heavy beat is really important. Volume is really important.” According to Chesebrough, there was more room for creativity in the early 1990s.

“Try to get a group of your peers to sit down and listen to a soft, slow piece of music and see how long until somebody cracks,” Chesebrough said.

“Saying one generation’s music is better than the other–you can’t do that. It’s just our music,” Chesebrough said.

What does music mean to a KSC student? A few of the students surveyed said that it is a way to express emotion. “Music has to have a purpose. I feel like it’s more than just sounds,” senior Jamie Martin said. “It’s a nice outlet to use for relaxation and a good way to represent what mood I’m in,” junior Ian O’Brien said.

Sophomore Elise Minkler has the same idea. “It’s all relevant to the mood you’re in. It’s an escape,” Minkler said.

But no matter what genre of music you listen to, it is a way to express oneself. It is a way to feel things without having to go through the scenario in real life. It pulses through veins to help the individual let loose and give it their all. Music can be therapy for the mind and body, and possibly have an ability to be the world’s therapy.


Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at

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