Music is an incredible thing. We all know that. It can evoke memory, make us happy and even improves language processing and cognitive ability. Becoming fluent in the language of music allows us to communicate with fans listening to us in their headphones, with other musicians during jam sessions, or audience members at gigs. There doesn’t have to be any lyrics. We hear it, we understand it.
One thing that we find more and more is how it’s possible to get used to one genre – especially with Spotify algorithms that suggest similar artists. What could happen to our tastes, and our own music making, if we listened to other types of music?
As musicians, we probably do branch out and listen to heavy metal and then Ariana Grande. Or perhaps we used to, and now are wedged into the same old same old. Do a deep dive on YouTube and other streaming platforms and you’ll find a web of delight and hidden gems you can’t wait to share (or do a live cover of). It’s easy and somewhat comforting to listen to the songs we already know and love – jump head first into finding new favourite tunes and your musical palate will expand. You may even find inspiration that you need for your latest song. The more areas of our brain we can light up with new sounds and song structures the better. Research shows it can lift mood because of the stress relieving effects.
Let’s explore 8 reasons to explore new music:
1 – Inspiration.
You will fall in love with music all over again and become inspired to be creative, and to share newfound sounds and song structures.
2- You’ll feel better.
Music lowers our stress response – our cortisol levels decrease and in turn our mood can lift along with dopamine levels in the brain. A natural high.
3 – Skills will improve.
Listening to new techniques and song structures will push you to explore and expand your writing and playing. A different verse melody or a bass line with a certain groove can transform your work.
4- Understanding of time signatures will improve.
Find classical music, and blues, and waltz and metal. Everything you can think of. These will have different time signatures and some of the classical stuff can get pretty out there. It’s good for the brain to assess and interpret these time signatures as all pop music is in 4/4 – and that doesn’t prompt our brains to think of anything new.
5 – You can connect with more musicians.
The more music you know about, the more you can converse with others who are aware of the same music. It’s a wonderful thing to lose track of time because you are engrossed in conversation with another musician about the reverse reverb used on Phil Collins’ drums.
6 – Better songs could be written.
Truly listening to how a song ebbs and flows – or how it trucks along – will gift you with ways to run at a new song you’re writing. Listen to hits in all decades, and listen to songs you love. What elements do they have that makes them stand out? Can you listen to the way the melody is written and figure out why it’s catchy? The more you listen to, the more brain files you have to call upon when in the studio. Watch videos on the great producers and how they wrote hit songs. There is plenty on YouTube where a producer will break things down for you. Billie Eilish’s producer/engineer/brother Finneas is a start. He an Billie started making all their music in their bedrooms at home, just like many of you I’ll bet. Remember to go back in time a few decades too – you’ll find music you didn’t know you wanted to love.
7 – You will develop your ‘ear’.
You’ll start to hear what chords are used and what keys work well. Of course, if you are a seasoned musician you’ll understand this from the start. But there will be chord progressions and note choices that catch you off guard and make you smile, prompting you to incorporate them into your next jam session.
8 – It’s healing.
You will find songs you connect with on a deep level. The lyrics make sense for your current situation. The singer is singing just for you. You will find songs you listen to on your own – they are your little secrets – and you’ll find songs you blast to the world and send to every musician you know with ‘you need to check this out!’. It’s a healing thing, music. We know this from birth (and in the womb should we hear it). A language we use to talk to each other. A flamboyant poetry, a smack in the face guitar distortion, a way to explain this earthly plane through aural vibration.
So much is out there, and we may not be as cool or original as we think we are. Many were here before us and we’re only regurgitating the same 8 notes – are we not? But what a fantastic 8 they are.
So, have fun exploring. Really listen to the bass line and the journey it takes. What harmonies are used for backing vocals and how they build. What exactly draws you in to the song? Pay attention to the hi hat rhythm and tom sounds. Zero in on singular parts to understand the overall structure. You might hear a way you’d like to record your next single. A new song you hear may provide a solution for getting to the chorus on that track of yours that you have been struggling with.
What song is your new discovery? Share it with someone to broaden their horizons too (you may even find something new in our Spinnup Presents playlist). One more thing – once you have inspiration from a genre deep dive, and you write your next hit… send it to us for distribution. We’ll take care of getting it out to all major platforms. Your take on the fantastic 8 could change the world!