We could speak for hours about benefits of listening to music.
There are many studies that explore the several ways we relax, get emotions and good vibrations thanks to music and how it contributes to our mental health.
When we listen to music we love, a series of positive reactions happen inside our brain which generates serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, giving us sensations of satisfaction and “happiness”.
In addition, active listening improves our skills as musicians (we talked about it here)
But music has many faces. There’s the one we love, the one we stand, we don’t like, even hate, music we don’t know at all.
There are too many things to listen to and we have no time to experiment them all, so we make a selection based on our taste and other parameters, like happy memories or our mood of the moment.
| Also, the older we are and the harder it become for us to keep up with new music, so we get used to listen always to the same things, intercepting just the new albums from old good bands and artists we’ve known our whole life, and we fall into the trap of “there’s no good music anymore” |
I’ve always been a fan of “know your enemy” slogan. I read it as an exhortation to be always prepared and speak with awareness, mostly if it concerns my job. In music the concept of “enemy” doesn’t exists in its literal meaning, but we can apply it to music we don’t appreciate.
So, today I want to talk to you about listening to this kind of music, the one we normally avoid because we “don’t like it”.
And I want to start with a question I know many of you are thinking about: “why should we?”
Well, first of all, because it’s knowledge.
To be able to judge, if I may use the term, we should know enough about the matter, and this means we need to listen to that music and try to understand it before we speak.
| Especially if we are musicians we should know everything possible about music and be able to recognise different genres and their particularities, even if we don’t like them |
Most of the things we don’t like are just something we don’t know or we’re not used to. If we grow up listening just to acoustic music, for example, it could take a little time for us to understand the sound of electric guitars. The same if we usually listen to pop music and we approach something instrumental. The absence of vocals could be destabilising, but it doesn’t mean that kind of music isn’t valuable, we’re just not ready to judge it properly yet.
Different cultures have different music and there’s always something we can learn.
It can be a mood, a particular sound or anything we can implement in our style to create something new. Certain things are peculiar of some genres and the only way we have to learn it is to listen and play that music.
Also we must not forget that music evolves together with our culture and society, and it can be the reading key through which we interpretate realities we don’t know.
Avoiding music because of prejudices is a mistake because we risk to lose something interesting and useful.
| If we want to overcome the natural tendency we have to avoid music we don’t like is to choose it actively |
Every time we find ourselves exposed to it (and this often happens with streaming services like Spotify) we could simply choose to let it go instead of skipping it. Or we could try to play the album from that band your friend always talks you about. You could realise that there are two or three tracks you actually like.
When we approach music this way we open our mind to discover new sounds, genres, instruments we’d have never thought about, and this increases our knowledge as musicians but also as simple music lovers.
I found, in fact, that lots of music that I love, I’ve discovered since I stopped to stigmatise it as “boring” or “not cultured enough” or other epithets due to prejudices.
Having a good musical culture is a skill that’s particularly useful rather you’re musicians or not, and could give you great satisfaction.
Let me know what you think here in comments or via contact form!
See you in two weeks,