By Alfonso Gorostiga
If given the task to describe yourself with only one song. Would you be able to do it? What if you were given 10 songs? It would not make it any easier either, would it? For certain, our music taste does reflect our true selves. With music intrinsically connected to the subconscious, it is able to tell and express things about ourselves that we are not only unaware of, but also purely and truly describe who we are. In that sense, music – despite what a lot of people might think – is not something alien to our being, but a mere extension of it. Secondly, depending on the range of our musical repertoire (i.e. our tastes and likes), the easier it is for us to relate with other people at a personal level. There are studies that prove that we tend to like and engage in closer relations with those people who are more similar to us.
It makes sense; if music expresses or reflects an aspect of our inner selves and of who we really are, by sharing it with someone else we are able to understand the other person to a much deeper level. Following the same line of thought, the biggest and more varied our musical tastes are, the bigger the chances we can click with other people. Think of your music taste as a puzzle; a unique expression of yourself. The more puzzle pieces that you have, the bigger the chance that you can ‘’fit’’ in other people’s puzzles. The more different and diverse your pieces are, the more willing you are to accept and adjust to others puzzles as well. This has to do with the fact that you become more flexible, you have such an abundant reserve of material that something you like can be more easily associated with a different thing.
An example: I might like the Artic Monkeys and because I like them, I may also like the Black Keys. Though they are two different types of rock, there is a quite resemblance in sound and style. Since I like the Black Keys, I may like Queens Of The Stone Age. The latter is a more aggressive sound, nevertheless, in a way it still resembles them. If I were to continue, it is very likely that I will end in a completely different place from where I started, like a dialect continuum. Regardless of the length and variety of my journey, I would still be close to my core, to my true self, given that I started from a place that I identify as me and I built on that. I would have only expanded myself, make it more complex, more full.
Musicians rely on this type of flexibility because that’s where our influences come from. By opening up yourself and being closer to other types of music, one can remold and make these new ideas your own. You find more tools to express who you really are and how you really feel, you get closer to get a hold of this idea of self of expression. Furthermore, this search not only possess the element of expression but also of a constructive character. It is from the assimilation of all these new inputs that you construct your identity, you become everything you listen to, not necessarily for the music per se but due to the reasons you had for liking it. In all, being aware of this power that music has in shaping oneself can be extremely beneficial. It promotes a different type of thinking, allows for wider connections, enriches the soul and allows you to find your own soul in a different voice. I am all for opening up the ears and allowing oneself the luxury of experimentation. You don’t have to like everything you listen, off course, but you might as well do. Who knows? Maybe you end up liking something you didn’t even know existed. Maybe you find that one song that describes you or perhaps… ten.