It’s that simple. Listen to more music.
If you call yourself a musician or audio professional or whatever else, you need to keep up to date with music. I don’t just mean the 10 artists you enjoy. I mean all music. All genres, and styles, all eras.
Why? The first reason is, you need to understand music and its history. You just do. In order to write better rock music, you need to understand the blues influences from which it came. Do you love weird shoegaze sounding stuff? Learn jazz. Shoegaze is FULL of jazz progressions and time signatures.
Taking the time to study classical music will teach you about the evolution of music and how it’s been used throughout the ages. Understanding the reasons (social, economical, etc) of why certain genres started. It will help you begin to think about music differently. It may even help you predict what will be the next big hit.
The second reason is you can use it as inspiration. The only way to grow and expand is to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll never grow as a hip-hop producer or artist if you don’t push the limits and introduce new ideas you learned from a different style or genre.
The truth is, nothing new is every created and music is no exception. Everything you hear is almost always just a recycled idea or new take on something already done. Don’t believe me? Do some research into exactly how many samples are in some of the modern day hip-hop stuff. You will be surprised at how much of today’s music is “borrowed” from years past. Set aside some time this week to listen to music you wouldn’t normally listen to.
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