Abdulaziz Al saad

Al saad 1

AbdulazizAl saad



24thSep 2015

ConnectionBetween Music and Personality

Inthe world today, music is literally found and listened everywhere.Every day at any given time, one is likely to see hundreds of peoplelistening to music on their portable devices such as mobile phones,iPods, MP3/4 players while going about their daily lives. This isdriven by increased accessibility of music courtesy of bettertechnology. So much is the obsession of human kind with music thatordinary occurrences are being perceived from a musical perspective.People talk of birds singing happily and even the wind whistling whenit blows. However, it is not clear whether a person’s characterinfluences the music they listen to or it is the other way round(Annemieke 3). For this reason, in this document I seek to answer thequestion, does music create an individual’s personality or does ittake personality to choose the music one listens to?


Accordingto Dovey,“music is not just a reflection of our musical preference,but also insight into the very essence of who we are” (Dovey 7).This indicates that the character dictates the music we listen. Inother words, people listen to music which is in line with theircharacter. For example, when a person loves listening to religiousmusic, it can be easily interpreted that he or she has a religiouscharacter. This creates the impression that it is one’s characterthat determines one’s choice of music and not the other way round.

However,it is crucial to think what exactly molds the character of anindividual. Music is also a medium of learning. Irrespective ofsomeone’s choice of music, music tends to teach an individualvarious aspects of life. An individual may choose to employ thoseaspects and make them part of him. This will eventually shape his orher character in a certain manner. For example, an individual wholistens to religious music may be warned on having extramaritalaffairs and decides to employ that teaching. In the long run, he orshe will have changed from behaving in a certain way to another way.This reveals that music also play an integral role in shapingsomeone’s personality. I also believe in this fact that music playsa role in shaping someone’s behavior which in return shapes his orher character.

Anindividual’s character is shaped by the culture one grows in.character can be simply termed as moral or mental qualitiesdistinctive to an individual. According to me, an individual’scharacter is shaped by more than the music and culture one grows in.scientists argue that most of character traits of an individual areinborn and tend to be determined by that individual’s genetics.This argument could be true. Although culture which encompasses evenmusic is the integral determinant of an individual’s character, itis not the sole determinant of people’s character (Dovey 39). Thecharacter of an individual is shaped mainly by the knowledge acquiredby that individual. For example, culturally people of a given socialbackground could be racists hence forming a racial-based character.However, as an individual goes to school and gains knowledge that allpeople are equal and racism is evil, he can develop a differentpersonality. Travelling and mingling with the victims of theircommunity’s racism can change this character’s personalitycompletely. This implies that character can be shaped by variousfactors and not just music and culture.

Peoplewho share similar taste in music are likely to have more similaritiesin their characters. This statement can be very true. For example,all the religious people are likely to be found as fans of religiousmusic. This implies that people with similar characters are likely tohave similar taste of music. However, according van den Tol andEdwards (2015), a shared taste in music might highlight a similarmood that needs to be expressed as opposed to shared character amonga group of people (van den Tol and Edwards 79). For instance, peopleare likely to listen to sad music after having a negative experiencewhereas they are more likely to change the taste of music and listento uplifting music after that period has passed so as to get out ofthe negative mood.

Thismeans that feelings were the determinants of their choice of musicbut not their characters. Similarly, people may tend to listen toparticular music based on the season. This implies that the choice ofmusic will be as a result of the season at hand like Christmas. Itis, therefore, unfair to generalize that all people who listen to aparticular type of music have a certain character (Annemieke 59).However, we cannot deny the fact that people with similar characterhave a tendency of listening to specific music which tends to becommon to all. This indicates that listening to common types of musicdoes not necessarily mean that these people have a common character.

Correspondingly,it can be argued that music character informs choice of music asopposed to music developing or shaping one’s character. I amproduct of my environment in regard to where I was brought up, thepeople I have interacted with all along, and my community. However,the music that I listen to has not significantly shaped who I am. Onthe contrary, my character and mood influence the choice of music Ilisten to. Rentfrow supports this point view by saying that “musiccan have considerable effects on cognition, emotion and behavior”(Rentfrow 402). This implies that how one perceives the world andothers as well as how/she acts can have behavior on emotions.However, this means that there are other underlying effects thatinfluence choice of music and thereafter the music affects theindividual. It is interesting to note that individuals listen to sadmusic when they want to feel sad and switch from such music when wantto change their mood. In essence, it would be hard for music cannotchange someone’s moods and feelings. In contrast, music is largelyused to reinforce an existing mood.


Inconclusion, music plays a critical role in the life of human beings.It helps individuals in reinforcing their character, emotions andbehavior as opposed to out-rightly influencing them. However, it alsoplays a role in shaping an individual’s character as the documenthas revealed although insignificantly. It is crucial to appreciatethe role they play as far as individual’s character is concerned.In simple terms, the choice of music played or listened to mainly away of expressing how that individual feels deep inside. Therefore,based on the above discussions, I can candidly say that a personchooses the music and that music plays only an insignificant role increating a person.


AccordingTo Science.” Jan12, 2015. 23 Sept 2015.Web.

AnnemiekeVan den Tol and Jane Edwards. “Listening to sad music in adversesituations: How

Dovey,Dana. “Who Do You Think You Are? What Your Taste in Music SaysAbout You,

Musicselection strategies relate to self-regulatory goals, listeningeffects, and mood enhancement.” Psychologyof Music 43.4 (2015): 473– 494.Web. Sage Publications.

Rentfrow,Peter. “The role of music in everyday life: current directions inthe social psychology of music.” Socialand personality psychology compass 6.5 (2012): 402-416.Web. Wiley Online.