It often strikes me how set in their ways people are. Think about, we take the same route to work every day, eat at the same restaurant on our lunch break, watch the news at the same time of day, then go to bed and do it all again the next day in the exact same manner as we did the day before. But it seems to me we are stuck even more hopelessly in a musical rut. People are so fixed on one style or one band that they ignore, or even shun the beautiful world of music around them. This revelation came to me about a year ago while working my shift as a jock on Chattanooga State’s WAWL. I had always enjoyed music, but like so many other people, I had successfully pigeon-holed myself into a single genre of music. Prior to the experience of working at the station, I was a devout follower of all things metal. It dominated my playlist as well as my mood, but as I sat in the station listening to Muse, it occurred to me, “Man, I’ve really limited myself, not only in my listening experience, but also as an artist. That day I decided I was going to diversify my playlist.
I went home and sat down at my computer and put my library on shuffle and it suddenly occurred to me that everything sounded the same. While it’s all well and good to have a particular genre we enjoy more than others, it’s almost criminal to disregard an artist because of our own genre bias. I would suggest that by diversifying our playlist we grow not only on a musical level, but also on a human level. If by learning to appreciate various musical styles, from various cultures, can we not also learn to further appreciate each other?
Also, on the artistic front, we all draw some sort of inspiration from the music we listen to, whether it be the vibe we get from a hooky riff, or the vision for a piece of art from a conceptual Prog album, music influences and effects our creative process and is in essence the core of the creative process. So why limit your artistic potential by limiting your musical intake? It is increasingly apparent that we have so much to gain from expanding our music libraries, thus expanding the creative base from which we draw.
So let’s move beyond the walls we’ve built and allow the music around us to invade and rewrite our preconceived notions of what makes a good song. Go out and explore other genres, push yourself to discover new horizons previously unknown to you. Who knows, you may find something that you enjoy more than what you enjoy now.