Parents’ and students’ perceptions of millennial music clash

May 24, 2018 — by Kevin Sze and Kaitlyn Wang

Junior Sora Ebrahimi has always had an interest in music. He has been singing, playing the drums and Persian instruments, learning the guitar, composing music and attending music classes ever since he was 4 and considers music something he will never grow tired of.

After attending an Avenged Sevenfold concert last July, Ebrahimi said, he knew for certain he wanted to pursue music.

“Watching them on stage triggered something in my brain, and I felt like that was what I wanted to do,” Ebrahimi said. “Music is a really personal thing for me, and I began to compose music, got really into it and decided that this was my thing.”

But he’s learned this path won’t always be easy. Ebrahimi’s taste in music, which leans in the direction of rock and metal, causes some people to lash out at it. He especially remembers a performance that resulted in trouble.

“Our band was performing at a venue and these adults came over to fight us because they found their kids at the concert,” Ebrahimi said. “We told them it’s not our fault; we’re just here to play music.”

Fortunately for him, his parents and friends are more supportive. Although Ebrahimi’s mom does not fully like what Ebrahimi is doing because of the genre of music he plays, she is also a musician who plays Persian music and encourages Ebrahimi’s own endeavors in music.

The support has fueled Ebrahimi’s drive to continue composing, and over the summer he will attend UC Berkeley’s College of Music summer camp.

Ebrahimi said he has also struggled to pursue his passion for music fully on his college-preparatory schedule. He wishes he could devote more time to music within the school day.

In the past, Ebrahimi took Winter Percussion but felt like he didn’t fully fit in.

Other students have seen negative reactions from adults regarding the music that they love as well.

Sophomore Raj Janardhan grew up as a huge hip hop fan, listening to rap ranging from the sentimental story-telling of J. Cole to the braggadocious and arrogant music of YBN Nahmir.

Janardhan’s love for hip hop began when he discovered “Dreams and Nightmares,” a popular song by Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill.

“I liked ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ because it was different from the mainstream music at the time,” Janardhan said. “A lot of mainstream stuff was soft and about love or whatever. ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ was about Mill’s life experiences and his success.”

On the other hand, Janardhan’s parents do not see the appeal of rap music. They believe that the music has too many curse words and talks too much about money and getting women, leading Janardhan to limit the amount of rap he listens to.

“They aren’t big fans,” Janardhan said. “But they’re OK with it as long as I continue to get good grades and I don’t use curse words or excessive slang around the house.”

Other students find that their parents do not mind the music they listen to.

Senior James Parden listens to similar music to Janardhan, adding artists such as Drake, B.o.B. and 2 Chainz, but his parents are all right with his taste in music.

“My parents think the beat’s cool, and honestly I think rappers rap too fast for my parents to even understand what they’re saying,” Parden said.

Rock, metal, hip hop, rap and other genres may differ from the music parents are accustomed to, as they grew up listening to the vocals of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince instead. Songs of parents who came of age in the ‘80s talked more about peace, love and positivity instead of money and women.

For parents who dislike the music their children listen to, Ebrahimi said that it does not have as large of an influence on their children’s actions as they may think.  

“Don’t blame the music for how a kid behaves because the music isn’t what raised them, for one thing,” Ebrahimi said. “And honestly, if they’re listening to that music it’s probably because they just relate to it. It’s not the reason they’re behaving a certain way. Instead of getting mad at them, talk.”