I spent far too much time growing up, excluding music. If someone asked what music I listen to, I would say jazz and classical. I didn’t listen to rock, pop, country, rap (well maybe a little rap), new wave, disco… I listened to jazz and classical. I was a music snob.
Being a Music Snob
Part of the process of learning to compose is about learning aesthetics. You start to get a feel for what is “good” versus what is “bad”. But this, as you could guess, is highly personal and subjective. The problem is, when you start to learn music theory, and how music “works” and is put together, you begin to think you have an “objective” viewpoint. You know the rules, and “so and so” rock band clearly doesn’t. So you begin to exclude. You say to yourself, that isn’t worth my time.
This is bad. The minute you start to think your music is better than anyone else’s, is the minute you stop truly developing.
All Composers Have Something To Teach Us
Everyone has something to say. Whether they say it in classical tonality, rap, bleeps and bloops, or atonal music, that is up to them.
You may not like the music after listening to it. But don’t exclude it just because it doesn’t fit your definition of good. Give it a shot. Chances are, if you really listen closely, you’ll find something you like in it. I for instance, have grown to see the beauty in the simplicity and repetition of pop songs. The forms are not complicated; they usually don’t explore different key areas very much. But they are catchy, and easy to sing… and make a lot more money than piano sonatas.
So here is your task for this week: Listen to a genre you haven’t listened to before, and find something that you can implement into your composing.