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Why listening to different music will make you a better musician

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Today I’m going to talk a little about the importance of having varied influences. Sure, we all like a certain kind of music, and everything else just seems inferior. I want to convince you that you should go listen to some music that has nothing to do with your usual taste, because it will make you a better musician.

Firstly, by listening only to one particular set of artists (because talking about genres is bullshit) you limit yourself to only a certain set of musical ideas. Even if you listen to the most innovative artists, they are still only going to have a certain way of processing musical ideas. That’s what we refer to as their “style”.

When you think of any truly great artist, they will always have been innovative and game changing in some way. Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, Bjork and Michael Jackson. They have all made music that nobody has EVER even thought of making before. Sure it’s all similar to this or that, but its never exactly easy to figure out where those ideas have come from. That’s because they have melded their influences in a way nobody has ever before.

As an artist, you need to expand your influences to keep growing. You HAVE to expose yourself to as much music as you can so that you can find your own voice. This way you won’t copy trends like 9 of the top 10 items on any music chart. You’ll set them.

Other than setting you apart from the pack, listening to a wide range of music has other benefits. Assuming you have any professional aspirations, and I know we all do, a wide range of influences can benefit you with some additional opportunities. If you are tuned into various music communities where you live, you will beyond any doubt hear about musicians wanting to collaborate and wanting sidemen for gigs. Any opportunity like that is something you should try, because you never really know whose listening.

So today, go find some music you’ve never heard, in a style you have never listened to. It won’t hurt.

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Written by majorshake

June 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

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