We Are What We Repeatedly Listen To

We are what we repeatedly do. So goes the maxim by Will Durant, writing on Aristotle.

As musicians, though, we are what we repeatedly listen to. Frequent exposure to new music, of course, is vital to our growth. But we are, most of all, the sum of the music we hear most.

Our aesthetics, our life trajectory, our musical decisions, our very careers – all will be influenced by the music we listen to repeatedly.

Spotify users have been sharing posts with a customized overview of their most frequently-heard tracks; it’s interesting to know what are the five most songs you listened to, or the five most artists. But if you play that game, go a little deeper: ask yourself, how has the music I’ve heard shaped who I am as a musician? As a human?

Until the Magic Voices CD release in 1998, my only way to hear The Singers Unlimited was from a few 15-year-old records I had bought used, or some well-loved records in the WMU Music Library. Now any curious teenager can hear them any time I want, and log more repetitions of a favorite track (say, All The Things You Are from A Capella III) than I could until halfway through college.

Utterly gone are the days where the music you heard was limited by what records you could acquire, or what a radio decided to  play. We have never had more autonomy over choosing what we hear.

Take ownership of that autonomy, and use it to propel yourself with intent along your musical path.