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November 9th 2016

In a recent Assembly I raised with the students the question of Music preference.  I can confess, this was with a degree of trepidation, as there are few things which are quite as personal to us all than our taste of Music.  The fear of ridicule, or misunderstanding when you expose that you have a preference for a particular band or song is a painful barrier.  One can only imagine what pressure those who appear on Desert Island Discs must feel.  For fans of the BBC programme  one only needs to recall the reaction to Ed Miliband’s selection and the immediate comparison to David Cameron’s eight favourite tracks.

What I spoke to the students about was how scientists have attempted to use these preferences to draw conclusions about personality type.  The STOMP (Short Test of Musical Preference) offers an online test that places the participant in one of four groups, dependent upon your choice of 23 Music genres.  The Assembly looked at the preferences of a selected group of staff and myself to test the theory.

The conclusion?  None of us fell into a clear grouping.  We all had a range of Musical tastes in our selection.  Why is this the case?  Well, the point made to the students was the premise that this might not be a ‘mono’ type.  Possibly we change our selections to reflect our mood or our desired mood.  This is the link to the important skill of reflection which I hope the students are becoming increasingly aware of.  Looking at our actions and then thinking about them is very important.  Knowing ourselves, however we do this, is the starting point to developing our behaviours and our responses.  The IB have recognised the importance of reflection, and our Year 13 Diploma candidates are now required to ‘reflect’ on their studies in many of their internal assessments.

So how does this link to Music?  It is estimated that for 20% of our waking lives we are in contact with Music.  I asked the students to think about why they choose to listen at times and not at others and how they could use this to benefit their self-knowledge.  Also, it was a good opportunity to share a little of myself with the students and to let them know that Matt Munro’s ‘On Days Like These’ would be my record of choice were I stranded on a desert island.  As to what the other seven songs were – you will need to ask the students!

Posted at 16:21 on 9th Nov 2016