October 2016 ACT writing essay sample

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Essay Prompt

The Power of Music

Perspective one: Music validates people's thoughts, and that is why peaceful people tend to listen to positive music and negative people tend to listen to negative music.

Perspective two: Music promotes positive cultural value, and makes society better.

Perspective three: Music is only the reflection of social tendencies; that is, violent music reflects violent society. Music does not create tendency.

Essay Sample

Music, an important form of art, has been valued since forever, and the advancement of digital technologies today makes it possible for music to permeate every corner of society. With the prevalence of music comes the discussion about its power and impact in our lives. A conservative view argues that music is merely a reflection of reality. However, music can actually give people certain psychological suggestions and is a rather powerful force to affect thoughts and values.

The creation of music and songs is often attributed to inspiration from life, and we hear more than once that many musicians relate their music to what they've heard, read, or experienced, whether it be actual encounters, imagination, or vision into the future. Some people think that is all music is able to achieve—to reflect what have already been there. They would exemplify the concept through limited observation: the reason why some songs advocating LGBT equality come up is that people have already converted to an open mind due to the rising power and status of LGBT group. But they've ignored a significant truth that some avant-garde singers, such as Queens, had already been communicating the idea back in their time. Nobody, of course, can say that music plays a vital role in directing social value or creating certain thoughts, but it does make some contribution.

Music works a magical way to influence the emotion or mind of individuals. As a vehicle of ideas, songs and music get connected with listeners by shared feelings or thoughts. When immerged in the ambience, listeners will naturally be manipulated by the psychological suggestion created by music. Thus, music is powerful enough to not only validate the existing thoughts but also forge new ones. Take the famous song, Black Friday, as example. It is such a dismal piece of music that no one was able to laugh once finishing hearing it. But rather, thousands of people were condemned to schizophrenia or depression; hundreds of them even killed themselves. It was because of the destructive power of the song that the world even reached a unanimous agreement to destroy it.

Since music can play individuals' sentiments in such a credible manner, it can also help create a social tendency when many individuals are subject to the same ideas embedded in music. As part of culture, music can infiltrate people with some ideas or values to enhance or even create social tendencies. A recent incident of Chinese community protesting against racial discrimination in YG's song serves as very potent evidence. YG disseminates in his song Meet the Flockers a very dangerous directions to rob the Chinese Americans. Surely, the song reflects crimes happening in Chinese community, but what's sinful about it is that the song turns what is a secret within some robbers into a public knowledge, which reinforces the stereotype about Chinese Americans and encourages people, especially immature underage boys, to imitate the shameful deed. It is reported that the song has actually created a crazy trend to break in Chinese shops and houses. While the racial violence results from a synergistic effect, value-carrying music clearly plays a role in this.

Indeed, music comes from life; but it undoubtedly communicates thoughts among individuals and even amplify small incidents into a social trend with the help of digital technologies, which bring music to everywhere. Though it requires a whole package of factors to create certain social tendency, music with its powerful "brainwashing" ability certainly helps shape social values.

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