Warm Feelings from Parents Create Warm Feelings for the Parents’ Music

From a study by Serbun, Sarah J., and Kenneth G. DeBono:

This study proposes that some music preferences might be conditioned in childhood through exposure provided by a primary parent or guardian. We hypothesized that those college students who perceive their primary caregiver as warm and nurturing, as measured by the Parental Bonding Instrument, will more positively rate music liked by their parent. After obtaining the musical preferences of their parents, we asked students to listen to and evaluate musical selections from the artists that their parents had identified as their personal favorites. Students who perceived their parents as adopting a warm and nurturing parenting style evaluated these musical selections more favorably than did those students who perceived their parents as more cold and unresponsive [emphasis added].

For those parents who are having difficulty getting their children to tolerate classical music, this study may be of help. Simply put, surrounding experiences of listening to your preferred music with warm and fuzzy good things will, by association, transfer all those warm and fuzzy good feelings to the music. So if your child’s only experience with classical music is a stuffy field trip to the orchestra, he or she may not be getting as good an experience as by sitting around at home, playing games with classical music playing in the background. I often counsel parents to put on soft classical music at dinnertime, without comment (too many parents, unfortunately, try to turn it into a lecture session, and believe me, I can understand their motivations!). Just let the music play in the background while good things are going on, and your children’s tolerance for classical music will increase.

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