It’s easy to get comfortable once we find our favorite music. As soon as we discover that sound we love, we tend to ignore all the other great areas of music that don’t match up. It doesn’t matter if it’s pop, rock, EDM. classical, or country music, we can quickly become creatures of habit and forget about everything else.
What we don’t realize is we’re missing out. Listening to different kinds of music and styles can help an aspiring musician expand their horizons and find out new things about their art. Every musical style can show you different lessons about what it means to play. Check out these different genres, expand your knowledge, and become a musical genius!
Classical Music – The Fundamentals
Aside from Beethoven or Mozart, not a lot of people are well-versed in classical music, but they should be. Classical music is the source of Western musical theory and fundamentals. Several legendary musicians are classically trained, including Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and the genre is a great place to get started on the basics of playing an instrument
Jazz – Improvisation
While Jazz is a highly technical music genre, the true beauty in it is the ability of musicians to improvise based on the fundamental techniques they’ve learned. Jazz instrumentalists are some of the most highly trained musicians around and it is this high degree of mastery that allows them to go crazy and try something new when playing live. Learning how to “wing it” is a key lesson taught by jazz. Improvisation is all about knowing how and when to go off script to make something more unique than plain old written notes.
Rock – Power and Timing
The beauty of rock is that it’s so varied. Different kinds of rock music have wildly distinctive sounds and different paces. In the end, however, pacing is also about timing. Rock uses pacing and intensity to shift sounds and tones and a winning combination can make for some great music. From the high-powered speed and intensity of thrash metal to calmer and lighter folk rock, the genre is a great microcosm of how to change up your songwriting.
Blues – Rhythm
Blues music may not be as technically demanding as jazz or as high intensity as some rock, but it’s very difficult to master. The genre, which originated with African American communities in the Southern States at the turn of the century, is all about rhythm. Taking its cues from traditional African sounds and Western folk music, this genre teaches musicians about using drum-like sounds in unusual forms and getting different rhythmic patterns from timing.
Reggae – Syncopation
Reggae music is all about playing the off beat. One of the genre’s defining characteristic is how accents are placed on the down beat–the second and fourth notes in a 4/4–as opposed to the first and third notes. The result is a syncopated sound that is a staple of its music. Reggae also takes its inspiration from blues and jazz, adding a strong preference to more unorthodox rhythm patterns.
Expand your musical horizons! Find your new favorite genres!