A few things have survived since man began roaming the Earth – hatred, love, and music. Interestingly enough, music has been hated and loved from primitive times up to our current time. Music has been the subject of debate for thousand of years. The important thing is that the flames of music haven’t been smothered, but allowed to reach for the stars.
It is not up to one person, or multiple people, to decide what is considered good music. It is an individual choice based on what one person likes. However, cultures and, parents/guardians/peers have played a part in what one person will put on their juke box/mix tape/playlist.
The fascinating thing about our current music scene is the exposure musicians can receive by a simple “like” on social media. The internet and streaming music programs have allowed for the world to receive whatever music they demand from any time period. It is even easier to have a variety of sounds for the seasoned listener, but most importantly for the new listener.
The new generations of listeners can more easily gain an appreciation for music than ever before. This allows for all the different types of music to keep growing and to occasionally cross over. It is only going to get better from “hear.”
Growing up in a small town that was mostly populated by farmers, ranchers, and hunters, the music of choice was country. This genre of music could be heard all over town in most businesses and dance programs, and on local radio stations. My parents were not from the area and never really got into the “newer” 1980s to 90s country genre, even though they heard it while they were younger. I was never a fan of country during that time. In my adult years I don’t mind it as much. Music can grown on a person.
Thanks to my parents, my musical foundation was created at a young age. My mom exposed me to 1960s and 70s rock ‘n roll with the occasional songs from the 50s (mostly Elvis Presley), which was introduced to her by my grandma. The bands that stand out most are of course The Beatles, along with The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Bee Gees, and Chicago. You could say that my mom helped me gain an appreciation for “love” songs. She also had a Michael Jackson cassette tape that we would play over and over again.
My dad, on the other hand, blasted The Steve Miller Band, ZZ Top, and Deep Purple from his eight track player in the garage. He also talked about how he liked the music of Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. It could be said that I found the angrier side of music just as enjoyable as the softer stuff. My musically gifted uncle also played a part by having me listen to Jim Croce, Rush, and Collective Soul while he taught me to play guitar.
In my early teenage years, I would sneak my older sister’s CDs into my room and listen to them while she wasn’t home. These albums were a variety of bands such as Spice Girls, Ace of Base, Tonic, Our Lady Peace, and other 90s bands. There was one, though, that was a game changer in how I felt about music. I can relate to how Rivers Cuomo described it when he first heard it: the album “had a baby on it, he was naked on it, then I heard the chords that broke the chains I had up on me.” (Weezer, “Heart Songs”) Nirvana became the prince of music to me while the Beatles were the kings. One of the first songs I ever kind of got right on the guitar was “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Those power chords were constantly callousing my fingertips as a teen.
I felt that my foundation was complete by the wise age of 19. My parents’ music and my rock music from the 1990s and early 2000s was it for me. Linkin Park, Hoobastank, Lifehouse, and so many others were giving me plenty to listen too. Sometimes we limit ourselves by disregarding new/different types of music simply because we don’t consider it to be as good as what we already know. New bands and sounds of music suddenly get pushed aside as if the windows of music revelation are closed. This is a narrow-minded way of listening.
Thankfully, I changed this behavior and found myself becoming a big fan of progressive blue grass after being exposed one day. The fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and bass opened up all these new feelings inside of me. I found myself wanting more. I would have been missing out if I didn’t take the time to listen. If we listen more and criticize less, we will be happier people. I can now say that I enjoy a wide variety of different types of music.
Music is always evolving and never stops getting better. It is important that we establish a sound music foundation and decide for ourselves what we enjoy. Music can inspire, heal, take us back to simpler times, excite, and relate to our lives. Nurture it and let it blossom into what it was created to be – pleasing sounds that can enrich your life.