Repairing Musical Blind Spots

It seems the momentary topic of choice in the world of classical music journalism is musical “blind spots,” or rather, the music that you try to like—or at least appreciate—but somehow just can’t manage to get there. Justin Davidson writes about his ambivalence towards Philip Glass, while some staff members of NPR Music reflect on musical genres that simply don’t float their boats.

At the same time, a Twitter friend (and also a friend in real life) suggested that I subscribe to another unlimited, everywhere, all-the-time music service so she could keep up with new music by seeing my listening choices. My immediate reactions were, a) that I would be more than happy to just tell her what I’m listening to, and b) that if I sign up for another thing that involves a computer, my head will surely explode.

Little makes me happier than when people are naturally proactive about listening to new things, and especially about dipping into something completely outside of their normal experience. So many good things can come of that. While talking about whether or not we appreciate a type or a piece of music is not especially interesting, the deeper question it suggests is more compelling: Is something important being missed by succumbing to blind spots?

Undoubtedly the answer is yes. However, it’s not possible to listen to everything on earth (even though Frank J. Oteri is absolutely determined to try), so how can the task of keeping up with new music be managed? And how to avoid burying a personal experience of music underneath the weight and distraction of sheer volume?

Justin Davidson has devised his own “filtering” method in response to the comments from his Glass article, which you can find out about here.

Speaking of sheer volume! Have at that last link, people.

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