March 27, 2017

#MusicMonday: March Playlist + Why/How to Branch Out Musically

Firstly, I think it's going to go like this from here out: the last Monday of the month will be #MusicMonday. I'll share my monthly playlist and an album review, something related to my career path, or something that's more inspirational/insightful and along the lines of today's post.

Up until my junior year of high school, I was pretty well-rounded musically. Junior year is when I developed stricter listening habits. I thought, for some reason, that listening to the new genre that I'd adopted meant that I had to cut out all other genres. Thankfully, my freshman year of college I realized that that was bogus. I do have a favorite genre/general "sound" that I go for, but I am far happier listening to a variety of music (and curating the most random playlists... see March's playlist below).

As someone who wants to work full-time in the music industry, I am a big supporter of listening to a variety of music and being open to new things. That's partially why I want to work in this industry— I get bored with routine, and things in the music world are constantly evolving and changing. (Read the rest of my story here!)

But why is listening to a variety of music important and not just better? 

For the same reasons you should try different foods and visit other countries— it's a way to grow, culturally. And you might discover a new favorite or something amazing that you didn't know existed. It's not always easy to branch out, though, especially when you're already so entrenched in something, so I came up with a few tips if you're looking to get out of a music slump or just mix up your daily playlist.

+ Actually listen to the recommendations.

All the major music streaming and buying platforms have a "recommended" feature for you. If you're listening on Spotify, there's a list of songs at the bottom of each playlist that might mesh well with what you currently listen to. There are also multiple curated playlists that you might like based on your listening preferences. Pandora is, obviously, based entirely on an algorithm that matches your preferences with new material, and if you're still buying from iTunes, you'll find a list of recommended songs at the bottom of any album/song page. I actually discovered one of my favorite bands by listening to a song listed in that section on iTunes.

The recommendations are not always super similar to what you're already listening to, either. Like, there are a few bands that are consistently recommended to me, and I just do not like them. Chances are, the music will be different enough from what you listen to for it to be worth your while to give it a shot.

+ Ask what your friends/family are listening to.

If you know that one of your friends tends to listen to music that's on the complete other end of the spectrum from the music you go for, ask them for recs. What's a new album that they've been listening to on repeat? My sister and I have pretty different taste in music (and in everything else, for that matter haha), but now and then, she'll tell me to listen to a song because she thinks I'd like it. And? I usually do.

A lot of what I listen to today can be attributed to what my parents listened to when I was growing up. As a kid, my mom would play The Beatles and lots of new wave, and I didn't realize until a few years ago how much that shaped me. I know every word to dozens of songs in The Beatles' catalog, and my favorite genre/general "sound" that I referred to earlier in this post is new wave. Music straight out of the 70s and 80s tends to intermingle with current material with new wave influences on any given playlist I curate. My dad has always listened to a lot of smooth jazz and reggae-type music, so I appreciate both of these musical styles, as well.

+ Go to a local show.

You know those flyers you see around the city? The ones advertising a show that a local band is playing at the brewery down the street? Go. If it's free, why not? You might really enjoy it, and you'll have found new music to listen to. You'll probably be able to pick band members' brains for advice chat with the band after the show, too, if you're like me and into that sort of thing.

What do you tend to listen to? Do you want to branch out more musically?

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