Should musicians listen to music?

My dad, a non-musician, asked me once, "Son, how do you write a song?"

He had been a contractor framing houses when he was younger, so I explained that the foundation was the drums and bass, the frame was the structure of the chords and how they were organized, the walls and features of the home - what people "saw" when they looked at a house - were the melody and lyrics.

An incomplete explanation - there are lots of ways to write songs - but it was an example that made sense from the perspective of a tradesman.

If we took someone, say a North American Plains Indian who had only lived in a tipi, showed them how to use power tools and such and gave them the materials needed, what sort of house would they build?

So it goes with being a musician. We listen to music and get ideas and concepts and understandings that make it possible to *be* a musician. Serious musicians actually study *how* to listen to music not as experiencers, but as craftsmen. Similar to how architects or builders look at a structure.

Music, for musicians, can also be an inspiration and especially a springboard for interpretation. A lot of great music has been created by cultural intersections - those who've lived in music "tipis" hear music "houses" and create something like a "tipi-house." From the listener's perspective, it sounds new, and "original."

Technology has created vast opportunities for exposure to all sorts of music, resulting in an explosion of creativity. People decry that the business of music is in danger, but music itself has never been so vibrant and healthy.

All because it's so easy to find so many kinds of music to listen to these days.

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