Music and the Importance of an Open Mind

I’ll admit it; I am a recovering music snob. It’s not an easy thing to admit as someone who claims to love music, but it’s true. Allow me to elaborate.

I’m one of those traveler people, who has spent a few years going all around the world, visiting exotic places, and meeting exotic people from all kinds of backgrounds and upbringings. And as cliché as it is, one of the things that really brings new people together is music. People will talk for hours, debating their favourite bands and genres. Some will agree that live music is the only true music experience while others insist that downloading MP3’s is the best way to go because it doesn’t cost much. Then you’ll have the people who are enraged by this, telling you that anything that isn’t on vinyl is the music equivalent of fingers being dragged down a chalk board.

It’s strange, but I have genuinely seen people who have only known each other for a few minutes actually decide there and then if they like someone based solely on the taste of music that they happen to have. While I was never as extreme as to not like someone because of the music they liked, at the start of my travels, I was one of those people who would look down on people who hadn’t heard of bands from earlier than 1995. While I like to think that I listen to a wide range of music, there were, and I guess still are, genres and groups that I immediately scoff at as soon as they are mentioned. Rather than let people educate me on these genres or bands, I would just ignore them, put my headphones in and go back to whatever was playing on my iPod at the time.

This is where it all started to turn around. Communal areas were always singing music. Usually it was the choice of whoever woke up earliest to take control of the available speakers; over time, you are subjected to so much variety, as people from all over the world are playing music from all over the world. You really do realize very quickly that there is so much that you are missing out on, and you are the only one to blame. There were so many times when there would be music playing that you are enjoying, and when you are finally told who or what is playing, you are shocked at yourself that you actually enjoy it. And when you find yourself actually paying for the music, you know you’ve changed. Soon I found myself getting more excited about what music I was going to hear, rather than the people I was going to see. After a few months, I’d added literally hundreds of new albums to my collection, most of which I never would have dreamed of even looking at before.

I guess the tangent-laden point I am trying to make is that there is an unfathomable amount of music available; I would be willing to bet that all of us are missing out on so much of it just because somewhere along the line, we’ve decided that pop music isn’t cool, so it’s instantly off our radar. Of course there will always be music that we don’t like; that’s just the way it goes, but it really is amazing how much you will discover, just by listening to other people’s tastes. You’ll probably be surprised at yourself and what you didn’t realize you liked.

You can just chalk them up as guilty pleasures, or you can become a fully fledged Grobanite, despite only owning remixes of German trance previously. Either way, there is no bad end result. So next time you meet someone who insists on lecturing you on how you should listen to the newest Cliff Richard compilation, don’t immediately hate on them – give it a go. After all, shouldn’t it be the love of music that brings us together, not the love of a certain music?