I know we all listen to music. No matter where we come from or how different we are, we all have some kind of connection to music. Music is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. It has shaped those cultures and societies around the world, passed down from generation to generation. It has the power to alter one’s mood, change perspectives, and inspire change. So when it comes to new music we’re not used to, why do we often disregard the idea of listening to it? This may be from my experiences and what I’ve seen, but for the most part let’s start being open-minded about music. No matter what your taste or style of music is, let’s start to be willing to try new experiences with music. Specifically, other cultures and genres since it challenges your understanding of music, you learn new things, and it makes you understand more about yourself as well as others.
Listening to different kinds of music can challenge your understanding of music as a whole. If you claim you love music but refuse to listen to something you’ve never heard before, then how can you say you love music? Music is universal. I’m not saying that you’re always going to love other kinds of music but if you don’t even try to listen to it, then how can you say you truly love music? For example, I have a friend who likes Kpop and she recommended a song to me from a group. I listened to it and I actually enjoyed it. Despite the fact that they only said a couple of English words, I thought the song was really catchy. I don’t have to be a fan of Kpop now, but at least I listened to the song and realized I liked it. This kind of experience can make you see and witness music in a new light. In my case, I realized that I don’t always have to know what people are talking about to enjoy music. I could look up the lyrics in English but I experienced the music without doing that.
Along with this, there could be bad influences society or social media can make about specific types of music genres, or about that specific audience who listens to that genre. Despite this, being open-minded about music can help you understand more about yourself. Music opens your eyes to other music you never knew you liked before. For example, someone may not want to try listening to rock music because they think there’s going to be a lot of heavy metal, electric guitar sounds, and noise in the whole song. This isn’t all true, not every rock song is considered to have that kind of sound. But if you listen to one, you may find that you might like that particular rock song.
Not only can you understand more about yourself, but also more about others. Music allows you to relate. Many people have difficulty communicating with others.Yet they can express themselves through a song they have written or heard, making it simpler to feel safe without feeling intimidated or afraid. With this expression, the audience can relate to them and many other people who like their song. As an example, Billie Eilish touches on topics about love, loss, self-image, depression, etc. She is very popular because people can relate to these topics. For this reason, I have definitely made friends and shared experiences with other people just because we liked the same song . Do you see the pattern? Lots of people can connect with you and with each other just from one song. Music creates its own communication. If you listen to different cultures and genres of music, who knows how many connections you’ll make. This can make you understand more about yourself and others as you go throughout your musical journey.
Furthermore, introducing yourself to different kinds of music can help you learn and explore new things. Whether you’re listening to culturally different music in another language, or a different genre of music that you normally don’t listen to. It can make you wonder and explore new things about it. As a result, if you’re listening to a different culture’s music you may want to learn more about that culture. You may learn about their customs, language, how music has made an impact for them, and the list can go on and on. For instance, I used to take dance classes with all different kinds of dance. One of the classes I took was West African. We danced to a variety of songs. I loved dancing to the music so much that I wanted to learn more about the culture and history of the music. This allowed me to learn and explore a culture I knew nothing about. Listening to new music can make you smarter in so many areas. It can make you aware of all the people you’ve never known about or the people you want to know more about. You may also find yourself wanting to visit that place in the future. Sharing music from one culture to another gives people an insight into another way of life.
To summarize, challenging your understanding of music, yourself, and learning new things all correlate to being open-minded about music. Having a positive mindset towards music can open a whole new world of possibilities and critical thinking skills. When listening to culturally different music it demonstrates inquiry about another way of life you may not have known existed. When you’re open minded you don’t think about other people’s opinions, instead you want to find things out for the benefit of yourself.
Zarrhea Johnson – The Chicago High School for the Arts – DMSF Class of 2026
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