A Process of Inspiration: How To Discover New Music

Leaders of Rock!


I hope you are having a well earned break from the holidays.


One thing that I like to do in the holidays is to listen to new music – sounds I have not heard before. I believe the more that we expose our ears to different sounds, the better. Things on my playlist these holidays include: Kendrick Lamar (hip-hop), Guzheng (Chinese traditional instrument), Girls Generation (Korean Pop) and Slaves (post-hardcore band).


We have plenty of applications on hand to access new music. Whether you are using Spotify, Pandora or Youtube, I hope you may benefit from this process of music discovery I use.


Stage 1: Start with what you know

1.     Pick an instrument you want to listen to

2.     Pick a genre of music you like

3.     Choose a specific song made by a specific artist


Rules for listening:

  • If you do not like the song after 1 minute, change it.
  • If you are 1 minute before the song has finished, listen to it all the way!
  • You are not allowed to listen to the song again – one play per turn


Stage 2: Change it up!

4.     On the side bar of your interface, there should be a panel for similar artists / recommended videos / recommended songs. I know in Pandora, it automatically shuffles to a song of similar taste

5.     Choose somebody you have never heard of

6.     Play at least one song from start to finish – you do not have to stay on the first song if you don’t like it


Stage 3: Store it!

7.     Bookmark your newly discovered songs and place into a folder or playlist.

8.     I like to take action – and if a song sound good on guitar, I will pick up my guitar to try to learn it. Looking up guitar tab is the next actionable step if you really enjoyed the song


Bonus tip:


In the book, the Power of Habit, Duhigg talks about how disk jockeys used a technique called ‘sandwiching’ to get listeners accustomed to new songs on the radio. For example, songs that were familiar to radio listeners – such as ‘Three Doors Down’ by ‘Three Days Grace’ - was put before songs that were recently released – such as ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast.


If a song sounds catchy, but requires a second listen, duplicate it multiple times in your playlist, and ‘sandwich’ it between familiar songs. Research shows that you are more likely to listen to it when you start noticing familiar elements of the music.


And that’s it – a short post that may help those bored at home get inspired and listen to new music.


Explore beyond your radio, and find different styles of music on your own.


I hope to check in before Term 2 starts, and wish you all a safe break.