Eight Facets of Music Listening

My attitudes in music have changed over the decades.  I was more compulsive in listening in my youth, and I’d put down or shun all music I didn’t like, sticking to a tunnelvision of few artists or styles I would consider listening to.

Today, you can find samples of just about anything in my collection.  I was pondering exactly what made me tick, and I identified eight facets of my musical experience that I identify with.  I never think about this consciously, but overall it reflects my open-minded approach to music, and my acceptance of the opinions of others.

The eight facets:

1. Personal likes and dislikes. I have very clear cut lines on what I like, or do not like. That lets me focus on listening to more of what I like, and putting aside the rest.

2. Tastes change. I may not like something today; I may like it five years from now if I revisit it. Or twenty years from now. Or I may never like it. But I never rule it completely out. Likewise, among favorites from 20 years ago, there may be one or two I cannot listen to comfortably anymore, or others that I burned out on simply from being overplayed either by myself or by radio.

3. To each his own. There are some artists, some styles (not many, though) of music, and some songs by favorite artists that I absolutely do not like, but can appreciate that others do enjoy them. It is not my place to put down others’ tastes in music, nor can anyone decide my tastes are for crap. Others also cannot dictate what I am supposed to like.

4. No music “sucks”. We may not like something, however we cannot truthfully draw a blanket conclusion that the music “sucks”.

5. Respect and appreciation. Even if I do not like an artist, or a style of music, I have the decency to respect the work the artist put into it, and recognize its place in musical history. I can appreciate artists, and I can appreciate albums that are cornerstones or turning points for an artists or style without particularly having to like it (like some jazz music–I certainly don’t like a lot of it, but I also don’t hate on it or say it sucks).

6. Opinions, nothing more. Our tastes and preferences are our own opinions. And everyone’s opinions are different. Larry’s opinion on music is no more or less valid than Moe’s or Curly’s.

7. Explore with an open mind; experiment. I’m always wanting to explore music I haven’t heard before. I am willing to try anything once. I get restless and need new sounds, while at the same time have familiar favorites to fall back on. I also go through phases. I’ll buy albums that have an interesting cover or liner notes–maybe the music will be a keeper. I play Pandora Internet radio quite often, and I absorb all the unfamiliar tunes they play among my familiar picks. I’ve discovered many unfamiliar artists that way, and have enjoyed a lot of what I’ve discovered from choices I never knew existed before.

8. Can’t listen to it all. Despite my wide tastes in music, there is far more than I can ever explore in a lifetime. I only mention this due to some friends who “can’t believe” I haven’t heard music by a certain artist or album. Maybe I haven’t gotten to it yet, because I’m listening to so many other things. Chances are I’ve heard of it, but haven’t heard enough to make it a priority to listen further in the near future. It takes time for me to absorb and “feel” the music. It may leave me less time for other music (I already know I can’t listen to it all), but I need to “connect” with the music for it to be a meaningful experience.

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