Originally created 04/25/06

Experience more from music by listening to other genres



Music often is called the soundtrack to our lives. If this is the case, why is this soundtrack only limited to one sound?

It is all too common for us as young people to be close-minded in our musical tastes. We listen only to rock or rap or country or pop, and it might be for a variety of reasons. Some people care about what their friends would think if they found out they were listening to something other than the latest radio-friendly fare. Other people have been trying to fit certain roles for so long that the idea of listening to something that doesn't relate to how they think they're supposed to act seems foreign.

The idea of listening to different types of music should be embraced.

What's so limiting about listening to only one genre of music, you ask?

We talk about being open-minded while our radios stay tuned to the same stations. What's good about that? By never changing the frequency, you're depriving yourself of what can be an otherwise rewarding experience.

Consider this: Diversity is the cornerstone for much of our favorite music. Any metal head worth his salt knows that Metallica lead singer James Hetfield's mother was an opera singer. On the hip-hop side, rapper Shawnna's father is blues guitarist Buddy Guy.

Even Southern hip-hop producer Mannie Fresh mentions Bach when asked about what inspires the music he puts out.

If they can listen to something different, then you can, too.

As a hip-hop fan, listening to classical music such as Bach or Beethoven improves your ear when it comes to picking out the different parts of a song. I think Kanye West said it best when he said that he sees different colors in his head when making music.

It's true that when you get into music and its roots that defy genre, you start to hear beats flow and come together the same way a Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese film comes together after 90 or so minutes. The bass line sticks to the bass drums and the snares, and each note is clean; you can hear the tick of each high hat like a stuttering stop watch. Hip-hop is a genre of music in which the instrumental is arguably more important than the words to the song. Similarly with classical music, string sections and piano arpeggios are the words to the song.

For the person who's been stuck on rock music, go ask that guy or girl at church whether they have any gospel music. Chances are you'll see how the two genres relate. If you're listening to a good rock record, then it has this vibe that words cannot express. You want to move, bob your head or just think for a moment.

Listening to a good gospel record, you feel many of the same sentiments. Though some might say it's blasphemous to compare the two, both genres evoke emotion in their listeners.

Don't be afraid to listen to different types of music. Really hearing one can make you appreciate another.

Musical purists can say what they want about the guy who mixes his rock with his Roc-A-Fella, but never mind him. You should listen to everything that moves you, not what you think you should. It will make you a better and more well-rounded person in the long run.

Michael Butler, 17, is a senior at the Academy of Richmond County.