You have ears—use them


Katherine Kang, Staff Writer

Do you like listening to music? Can you spend hours crafting a perfect playlist that encapsulates an oddly specific thought or feeling? And is there a playlist that has finally pushed you to clean your room after months of letting junk pile up? Do you hide earbuds under your hair to help you stay awake in class? Or is it impossible for you to listen to music without subconscious head nods giving it away?

Have you ever felt a bass so powerful it rolls through your body and recalibrates your heartbeat? Are there songs that feed you the confidence you never knew you could harness? Obnoxiously catchy earworms that burrow inside your brain all day? Does nothing get more memories flooding inside you—even more so than pictures of past friendships and the smell of summer—than the songs that bring you back to middle school cafeterias and the early months of quarantine?

And sometimes, is a song that fills an empty head as you lay in bed, staring at the ceiling while trying to escape reality, all you need for a few minutes?

If your answer is no, you’re doing it wrong.

Start listening to more music. With over 1,000 genres and new album releases every day, there’s no excuse for you to stay inside the Billboard Hot 100 or complain that “there’s no good music anymore.” So, expand your horizons by listening to songs that have never touched your ears.

A good place to begin is by checking out universally acclaimed albums from all different genres. If you only listen to hip-hop, try out some rock. You may think that classical music is boring, but wait until you listen to pieces that aren’t always played in weddings and commercials. And if you’re interested in becoming a true “music patrician,” you can even try listening to experimental music (but only at your own risk).

The more you listen to music, the more you’re building your palette and refining your taste. You’ll start to pay attention to songwriting, production and vocal/instrumental performance, and you’ll even learn to articulate what makes a  “good” or “bad” song. But always remember to stay true to yourself, even if it means hating the songs everyone else seems to love while also singing along to your guilty pleasure favorites.

With enough listening and searching, you’ll eventually stumble across an artist, album, song or even a single line that will give you what I call the “woah” moment. And once you find it, I hope that you fall completely in love with music like I have.