The Importance Of Discovering New Music In Your 20s, 30s, And Beyond

Many adults look back at who they were during their middle school and high school years and are thankful for being older and wiser. In most every way, being an adult is easier than being a teenager because of the confidence, security, and freedom that comes with age. But one thing that comes easier to teens than adults is finding and becoming passionate about new music. 

While most adults are content to keep listening to the music they discovered in their youth, serious musicians need to continually seek out new music in order to stay challenged and engaged in their work. In other words, if you rely only on the same musical influences you discovered in your teens, a relatively short period in your life, you’ll be limiting your creative potential in a huge way. 

Why it’s hard for adults to become passionate about new music

Teenagers are new global citizens, and it’s hard to be new at something so important. From relationships to not being taken seriously, being young is often closely associated with insecurity and uncertainty. By design, teens are constantly searching for ways to solidify their identities, and music is a great vehicle for simultaneously learning more about the world and feeling understood. Teens easily gravitate towards music because it’s a creative commodity they can feel ownership over. This is why so much music is based on youthful themes like the drama of young relationships, angst, and breaking through boundaries to be seen and understood. 

Most adults are too busy to find new music, and some have difficulty being moved by music in the same way they were as kids. Music starts to feel less important to adults starting in their early twenties, but the rituals of music discovery and consumption are essential lifelines for most teens. 

Why serious musicians need to listen to new music no matter their age

Believe it or not, many serious musicians are just as susceptible to tuning out new music as other adults are. You might be deeply passionate about your favorite artists, but if you’re only listening to music you discovered as a teen, you’re cutting yourself off from a world of music that’s constantly evolving and changing. Whether it’s genres you haven’t explored or new music from ones you’re familiar with, opening yourself up to new ideas is essential for giving you energy and ideas for shaping your own work. 

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How to find new music as an adult

Discovering new music as an adult can be as simple as skipping familiar artists to listen to new ones instead. However, since a great deal of money and attention is devoted to promoting music to younger audiences, you should prepare to put some work in. Read music reviews, use the discovery tools your streaming platform of choice offers, and go to as many live concerts as you can. Similar to how exercising is hard work that brings crucial elements, your effort to seek out new and interesting music throughout your career will end up making your own work better. 

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

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Join the conversation
  • Sidnei Falanga - November 5, 2019 reply

    Com certeza temos que nos renovar ,ou nossas ideias e criatividade irão para o ferro velho!!!
    Gostei muito das dicas , e também penso dessa maneira, mesmo que eu não concorde ou não goste de muitas músicas atuais!!!

  • Gwyn Ashton - November 6, 2019 reply

    This is true. Only listening to old music is lethal to your own progress. If you’re a serious musician, only PLAYING old music is disastrous to not only yourself but to the music industry and just keeps the public numbed in a state of nostalgia which is the number one killer of progress. This is why I’m vocal about the current state of impersonator ‘tribute’ acts and how they do a dis-service to the industry.

  • Chris Dunnett - November 6, 2019 reply

    Very good article and I agree with it all. I also feel though that adults are less likely to be interested in new music as they prefer listening to songs they grew up on. Music is the soundtrack to our life and listening to music we liked as a teen or early 20’s reminds us of our youth when we were more carefree, less responsible and more adventurous. So adults tend to want to be reminded of the “good ‘ol days” and the music we grew up on brings us back there.

  • Pete Smith - November 7, 2019 reply

    Guess that makes me a serious musician then. I’ve never understood how otherwise sensible people can stand listening to the same tired old music from their dim distant youth.

  • Flavio Oliveira - November 7, 2019 reply

    Great article! I think on case of musicians that create songs, it’s a “must have” thing. I see many good musicians and bands only mimicking artists from the past, releasing outdated material with no appealing with youngers. Musicians, like artists in general must have an opened mind about the new stuff.

  • Tom Duarte - November 7, 2019 reply

    VERY good advice! I am going to “blow my own horn” if you don’t mind. I am 66 years old but I still listen to current music and I play quite a lot of it. In fact, I get hired a lot in the Bay Area BECAUSE I emphasize new music. This is in addition to my base style, which is Latin-influenced music, of course. I also read article by new artists who are not even within my “favorite” genres, (i.e. rap, hip-hop), and for that matter by actors and other creative performers. I get a different perspective on the business that way, and not the least, its interesting to know about the creative process and artistic struggles that a young MC goes through. I do NOT want someone to have to say about me, “Yeah, he’s still doing the same stuff he was doing 20 years ago”

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