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  • Writer's pictureDave

Why Listening to New Things is Hard and Why You Should Do it Anyway


Listening to new things can be tough. It can be so easy to just go back to what is familiar. So Why is Listening to New Music ESSENTIAL? Because it challenges your TASTE. Some things will taste good, some will taste bad, and somethings will be an Acquired taste. Composers who are constantly challenging their taste are the ones who can adapt. They can draw from such a wider range of music. This helps you make connections in music that you might not see/hear. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t listen to music that you Love or are familiar with. That is always important and it is part of your identity! We need music for all kinds of things: To Zone out, relax, go to the Gym. And practically, who is listening to Penderecki at the Gym? But NOT listening to New Things is a form of Malnourishment. You’re not feeding yourself. So, when you finally sit down to Listen to some New Music You Want to Listen Actively, Not Passively. Passive listening is great and it is the default way that most people listen. Music on in the car or in a store, Music as Being Secondary to Another Thing. Active listening means that the music is the Primary focus. But there is also something to be said for JUST LISTENING. Ideally distraction are down to a minimum. You don’t have to do it for very long (15 minutes is perfect). Don’t be intimidated by the Length, Active Listening always counts. Engagement is the Key. You don’t have to like it. But you do need to try to Understand it. Understand WHY it is working for you or WHY NOT. Think of it like being a chef. If you are Chef in a restaurant, you are in charge of cooking the food. Chefs have a different Palette than normal people. A professional Chef is Probably NOT Going to Love Every Single Dish that they are asked to Cook. But they will absolutely Know Exactly how it is supposed to Taste, They will consider every element of the food. The meat, the seasoning, the plating, the sauce, the cheese, the veggies, the textures, the techniques, everything! You want to be the same way with music. You want to notice the details. The more you do this, the better you will get. You will also hear the music you love with different ears as you keep challenging yourself. So, listen to things in your Niche - For example, Choral composers, listen to the top choirs. What is trending? Do you like it? Why or Why not? Staying current is ideal, and at least knowing the names of the big composers. Listen Outside of your Niche - Challenge yourself! Get outside of classical music for that matter. Listen to your favorite Artists, but go through their whole catalogue - Try and notice how their style develops over time, see the journey of their music throughout their life. It will get you thinking about your own compositional journey. At the end of the Day, you always want to be curious - There is always more out there. Just take a little time (15 minutes) and Listen Actively. Challenge your Taste and listen to something NEW to you - Don’t wait just get started

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