Exploring Music Genres
There are many different genres of music. You can think of “genres” as different categories of music grouped together based on a number of key characteristics. Rock, pop, and classical are three examples.
As a young musician, I mainly listened to pop music. I was aware that there were other kinds of music, and of course, performed a few different genres along the way; but I had grown up with pop music and didn’t feel a huge desire or need to expand my horizons beyond the genre that I loved most.
It wasn’t until I officially made the decision to pursue a music degree that I truly began to understand why it was important and beneficial to expand my awareness of various genres. If I was going to be the best educator and musician I could be, I knew I had to let go of my old way of thinking that I could only enjoy pop music and didn’t need to delve deeper into other genres. I can honestly say that without the music genre education I received, I would not be the musician and teacher that I am today.
For all musicians, no matter the age, it is important to know that expanding your knowledge of other musical genres is beneficial in several key ways…
“Knowledge is power.”
That old saying “knowledge is power” is so true! Just as learning about theory, technique, history, etc. gives a musician the tools to master new music, so does having even a basic understanding of different music genres. Understanding the genre, it’s rules and styles, will help a musician perform in that genre more successfully than someone who doesn’t possess this knowledge.
Remember, if you are not continuously learning and growing as a musician, it is never too late to start!
A versatile musician is a marketable musician.
Musicians who can perform in multiple genres are more marketable. Let’s give an example that all of us can recognize: Taylor Swift. Her amazing ability to cross over into different genres like rock, folk, alternative, and pop, have aided in her substantial success as a musician. Her ability to successfully understand and perform these genres has helped her reach a bigger audience of listeners and fans.
Those musicians still trying to make it in the business know that the more skills they are able to add to their resume, the greater the chance of getting a paying job.
Broadening our minds allows us to appreciate and communicate better with others.
Opening your mind to other genres of music also opens your mind to different cultures and different sounds and ideas. Not only does this create a more well-rounded musician, but a more well-rounded person in general. We don’t have to like or perform every single genre we listen to, but we do want to be able to appreciate and understand it. This can only allow us to grow as human beings and aid in our ability to have good communication and relationships with different people in our daily lives.
You’ll never know if you’ll enjoy other music genres unless you try them.
Had I not pursued a music education and been exposed to both classical and musical theater genres, I would never have learned how much fun it is to perform both! Through exploring these genres and learning new techniques, I realized my voice was capable of doing so much more than I ever thought possible. It is always better to give something a chance first instead of immediately writing it off.
I would encourage all students, musicians, and teachers to explore other music genres throughout their music careers. It will benefit you in more ways than you could imagine.