Preferences for popular music in and outside school among Chinese secondary school students

Wai Chung HO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


During the last two decades, China has experienced the emergence of vibrant popular music, resulting from globalisation and commercialisation. This empirical study investigates Chinese secondary students' popular music preferences in daily life, and to what extent and in what ways they prefer learning about popular music in school in the city of Changsha. Based on the findings from the survey questionnaires completed by 1816 secondary school students and interviews with 45 students from 8 secondary schools, this study revealed that Chinese teenagers preferred popular music styles in their daily lives and in school, particularly popular songs from Mainland China, the USA and the UK. There was a strong relationship found between school music teachers and the students' preferences for learning popular songs. Many of the students surveyed had their own popular music idols, but they mostly maintained that they liked their music idols because of their songs' melodies and lyrics. The findings also showed that there was a gap between the students' preferences for popular music and the popular music styles taught in school music lessons. Despite the division of classical and popular music learning among Chinese youths, most students conceded that these two musical styles should be taught in school music education. This study's findings challenge the notion of how popular music education in a culturally diverse community can be improved, as well as stimulate further examination of young students' music preferences in and outside the school environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-261
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese youths
  • daily lives
  • in and outside the school environment
  • music preferences
  • popular music


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