Many adults see teenagers with headphones in as a sign they are self-absorbed and do not care about the world around them.
However, this is most often not the case.
As music has become more ingrained in our society, children were exposed to it at younger ages and began to see it as a regular part of life.
Some children, as they go through the emotional growing pains of adolescence and young-adulthood, cling to music an outlet for frustration, pain and stress.
The wide range of music genres connects with many different people.
Flowery Branch senior Kelsey McQueen is passionate about posthardcore and alternative/punk.
Music became a passion for her during her freshman year, when she saw “The World Tour” by Sleeping with Sirens, Pierce the Veil, Mallory Knox and Pvris from the pit (general admission/standing area) at The Tabernacle in Atlanta.
All of her published products (blog, art, novel) are published under “Almost Kelsey.” The thought behind that changed at the concert.
“I remember standing there … and thinking that I had been wrong,” McQueen said. “I was a whole person, and I didn’t need another person to make that true. I existed and continue to as a separate unit, capable of anything.”
That single thought changed her life.
In the time since, she has taught herself how to play guitar and is working on vocals and piano.
Music has lit a passion that comes out in all facets of life.
“My walls are covered in quick scratches of lyrics and band logos done in paint and posters and tour announcements,” she said.
Her hope is to one day be the frontwoman in her own band, where she can encourage and inspire, giving back to the music community where she found her true self.
North Hall junior Madison Pierce finds value in metal and alternative music “because the lyrics actually have meaning, it isn’t just a catchy beat.”
She listens to music all the time, especially G-Eazy because “his lyrics are really relevant,” Pierce said.
“The band A Day to Remember has gotten me through a lot of tough situations,” Pierce said.
This is a recurring common theme in how teenagers relate to music. A certain band or song can be the driving force for discovering the inner strength to face a new day.
“Music really inspires me when I’m painting and helps me when I’m down in the dumps,” Chestatee senior Savannah Popham said.
With her tastes spanning several genres, Popham says music “motivates me to do work and puts me in a better mood.” Some of her favorite artists include Hillsong United, Eric Church and Bon Iver.
McQueen recounted being in the crowd singing the song “Therapy,” a deeply meaningful song to her at an All Time Low concert. She remembers “crying and looking around at all the people … and thinking that I wasn’t alone, and furthermore, that this is one song that had helped each of us through something really terrible. I could see it. I could feel it.
“I’ve never felt so close to God, or to the life we’re supposed to have. I feel human when I go to shows.”
Anyone can find a way to find joy and hope through connecting to music, whether it’s calming instrumentals, uplifting religious worship songs or loud beats from broken people sharing their pain and experiences through their musical canvas.
“Music … is the reason I continue on in my current, slightly less that desirable condition as a high school student …” McQueen said.
Music has become the lifeblood of the American teenager, a common ground where souls collide and bond over shared love, experiences and the need to belong and feel understood.