Listening to new music can expand horizons

By Brian Loh , Columnist

Music is everywhere. Take a walk around campus and you’ll find people walking with headphones on, bikers with speakers in their bags or hear that speaker blaring outside of Mr. Kyoto. Music is an integral part of college culture. Within the diverse environment of a college campus, students have a wide variety of tastes.

People should take the opportunity of being in a diverse environment to listen to music from different genres. Listening to music outside of your comfort zone may seem intimidating, but after a few songs, you’ll find that trying new music is something that you enjoy.

In addition to finding a new song to freshen up your playlist, a study from Science Magazine claims that finding new music you enjoy will activate the region of the brain responsible for reward. This occurs because your brain is always predicting how new songs will play out (no pun intended), and when a new song exceeds your expectations, the intensity through which you enjoy the song increases.

According to the study, when participants heard a new song that they enjoyed, their enjoyment was so strong that they bought the song after listening to it once.

Besides scientifically benefitting from listening to music, finding new music is a good way to expand your musical horizons.

Music is something that originates from a culture, and having an understanding of the many genres of music allows you to become a more worldly person. Being able to understand the intricacies of jazz or why mumble rap is so popular will assist in your understanding of the cultures that the genre originated from.

Personally, I experienced this during my sophomore year. My roommate would recommend K-pop songs to listen to, and through listening to this new genre, I discovered a whole range of subgenres under Korean pop music.

Lastly, exploring less well-known musical genres is a way to find music that’s unique to you. In today’s music culture where the same few rap songs are played on repeat, it’s good to step away and find a hidden gem that differentiates itself.

A few ways I get new music is by either looking at my Spotify Discover playlist or asking friends for recommendations. I prefer asking my friends for music because they usually know what types of music I like, so their recommendations are more accurate for finding songs that I enjoy.

Other ways through which you can find new music on campus include concerts at The Canopy Club, local radio stations like WPGU, or dedicated music discover sites like Pandora.

Whether you’re on the bus or doing some homework, try listening to some songs from genres you’ve rarely heard from before. Who knows? You just might like it.

Brian is a junior in Engineering.

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