I listened to Last.fm for some time and I really loved it. It made me familiar with a lot of singer song writers I’d never heard before.
I’ve always been curious for new musical styles. I still remember listening to my first Slayer album when I was about twelve.
I must confess it didn’t really strike me at first, nor did it the second and the third time, but I wanted to know why the other guys were digging it so much. Was it just attitude or was there something I did not yet hear or understand? I discovered the more I listened to it, the more I learned how to listen and that’s when the music opened up to me. Eventually I became addicted to the genre.
I bought “Chaos A.D.” from Sepultura and I was in love with it straight away. I loved the dark guitar riffs and the bombastic brazilian drum fills of Igor Cavalera. It was all about rhythm and then I went on to Obituary, Death, Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth. The music became more melodic. It’s funny I started off listening to the most loud album at that time and it got softer along the way.
My brothers introduced me to The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Yes, John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Queen, The Eagles, REM (still in the early days), Paul Simon and the Jayhawks.
I also discovered Joe Satriani, Scott Henderson, Tom Waits, John Williams (the classical guitar player), RHCP, Radiohead, Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt to name just a few of the guitar players and bands who played a big role in my childhood.
Later on I also learned to love other styles of music like pop music, country, jazz, R&B, Funk, just about everything I could get my hands on.
First I listened to a song in a normal way to see if I liked it or not. The second time I would listen to the instruments and their sounds, the music production, how it was arranged and mixed.
How did the bass player come up with that groovy and melodic bass line? What was the drummer doing? How did the song build up to a climax? Wow, how beautiful and authentic that voice was! I was listening to the sounds of the guitar, the snare drum, kick, toms, bass guitar, piano, strings, lead vocals, backing vocals.
Listening to music in all those different ways will change your perception of what good music really is and what it means to you.
Because I listened like that, there came a time when I was more into the artists and bands of certain music producers like those of Glyn Johns, Bob Clearmountain, Mutt Lange, Max Martin, Glen Ballard and Rick Rubin.
All those different ways of listening to lots of music and maturing led me to singer songwriters like Ryan Adams, Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Mindy Smith and Ray La Montagne.
All these different styles of music have been a major influence on my guitar playing. It expanded my guitar vocabulary and improved my technique in many ways.
Besides that, music truly enriches my life over and over again. I often get totally obsessed when I discover some amazing artist, musician, band or whatever. I wanna know the music but also everything behind the music.
There is still so much old and new beautiful music that I keep falling in love with and there are still so many diamonds out there waiting to be discovered.
Here are the 10 reasons why you should keep exploring music:
1 Listening to awesome music will inspire you, motivate you to practice, wanting to perform, write songs, start a band and create music in any way.
2 Exploring new and different styles and also learning to play a few pieces of jazz, country, world music, alternative, soul, funk, raggae, progressive rock, etc. will really improve your guitar skills. You will experience new sounds and cool techniques to incorporate in your own style or even change the way you play guitar completely.
3 Good music releases a mood-enhancing chemical (dopamine) in the brain. Reported in Nature Neuroscience: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12135590
4 Your knowledge of music expands. You will learn to recognize different time signatures, rhythms, how music is arranged, produced and mixed. You’ll change and expand the way you listen to music. (in a good way)
5 Music sticks. Whatever music you are listening to now, it clings to this time and life experiences you have. Later in life (or even after a few days) when you will listen to that same music it will bring back all the memories, emotions and sensations of that time. It’s a wonderful treasure. I use it consciously. Whenever I go on a holiday or set out to have an awesome experience I will listen to new music and a vivid memory will be saved forever.
6 You will be able to easily connect and socialize with fellow musicians and people in general because you listen to a lot of musical styles, bands, artists and musicians. Everybody likes to talk about their favorite music and you will sure have some in common.
7 You are getting to know all these beautiful new songs, melodies and lyrics. It enriches and enhances your life. It makes life exhilarating!
8 Music will be your source of inspiration on how to write songs or write better songs. You can study your favorite artist or band and how they write melody and lyrics. You’ll notice different structure in songs. How they build up to a climax, make use of rests, breaks, dynamics. There is much to learn from listening.
9 It will help you develop your musical ear, what different chords sound like (major, minor, Maj7, Dom7, sus2, extended chords), how chords relate to each other, it expands on your creative musical ideas and breaks through your limits.
10 Songs and artists can change your life. The lyrics of a song can have significant influence on what you’re going through at the moment. Song can heal or make you feel better. The melody of a song or the voice of a singer can capture your heart and soul for ever, but also an artist or musician in itself can be a source of inspiration and make you want to be a better musician and enjoy the music even more.
“You are what you listen to” ~ Unknown author
If you have any cool suggestions for good songs not the whole world has heard of yet, please share it in the comments. I appreciate it.
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