Appreciating Appreciation: Music is for All, No Matter Your Knowledge

Colin Schrein, A&E Editor

Who is able to appreciate music the most? Is it your classic rock-obsessed dad or the highest educated conservatory professor? Who feels music in a deeper way? The fan that can’t keep a simple beat or the virtuoso concert pianist? All people relate to music differently, regardless of their knowledge or comprehension of what they’re hearing. Appreciation of music should not be something to put on a pedestal; you do not need to be conscious of music’s intricacies to absorb its features and enjoy it.

I believe that to appreciate music is to feel something from it. Whether it be a fleeting thought of nostalgia, or a confusing question of self, everyone has the ability to appreciate music. Let’s take our classic rock-obsessed dad from above. Maybe he’s got a Mötley Crüe t-shirt. Maybe he’s got a picture with the Led Zeppelin tribute band that played at the local Fourth of July music tent last year. He may not know what a “chord” is and might butcher the chorus of “Come On Eileen,” but he loves the music nonetheless. One does not need to know a lick of how music is made, what music is made of or what it means to appreciate it. Just as some of the biggest baseball fans don’t know how to swing a bat, some of the biggest music fans might only know a keyboard as what they type on in their cubicles all day.

If you’re reading this, you are most likely a college student. We’ve all had that professor that seems to hold their degree over our heads as a badge of scholarly omniscience. Does it mean they appreciate reading more just because they have a fancy PhD in English? Not at all. The same can be applied to music. Any whizz-kid who claims that their encyclopedic infatuation with bebop jazz outshines your supposedly anti-intellectual admiration of Taylor Swift has it all wrong. There shouldn’t be shame in enjoying music. All people relate to music in unique ways and listen to it differently. Some may appreciate heavy trap beats to get them through their cardio workout and some may appreciate Phoebe Bridgers’ somber lyricism as they “fell on hard times a year ago.”

All in all, music is for everyone and there is no correct way to listen to it, nor is there a wrong way. Emotional responses and appreciation of all things are personal matters that differ from person to person. So go wear that Nirvana shirt, even if you can’t name three songs.

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