Far too often, musicians have a tendency of only listening to the kind of music they play. Can you imagine a vocalist only listening to other singers? Or a trumpet player listening to only trumpet music? Not only can this lead to a rut of sameness, but listening to a narrow range of music can negatively affect your growth as a musician.

Throughout your musical journey, it's important to occasionally step outside of your comfort zone. Doing so can bring about new ways of creative thinking, renew your interest, and even increase your overall enjoyment.

We all have our own musical preferences but with so many downloading and stream sites now available, there's no excuse for any contemporary musician to not give other genres and styles a listen. With an easy search on YouTube, you can sample everything from folk and world music to grunge, jazz, or atonal. For true musical growth, the key is to try a kind of music that you normally wouldn’t think about listening to.

Getting into unfamiliar musical territory can be harder for some than it is for others. To help you get started, listen with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed. As your listening, imagine that you're the conductor, and actually move your arms about. Envision what dancing to this music would be like, then get up and start dancing. This exercise is guaranteed to give you a different experience of the music.

Another technique to try involves taking a lesson from someone who plays an instrument unlike the one you play. Your instructor will be capable of hearing things in your playing that you might've not noticed, and vice versa.

By exploring other stylesof music, you're opening yourself up to new influences and experiences, each of which can affect your performance in a truly astounding way. In fact, broadening your zone of comfort can also broaden your zone of success. Through every note you listen to, the context of the music alters, as well as your perspective and opinion of the genre. If you find this new musical discovery difficult to enjoy, try and understand why you feel that way. What drove the artists to create this music? What is it about the music that you find unsettling?

The best techniques for creating new listening opportunities involve playing with other people, especially if they play different instruments than you do. Remember, going beyond your comfort zone can breathe new life into your performance. So try to find musicians who can teach you something fresh and unfamiliar, and listen for aspects in their performance that can inspire and surprise you.

Listening is a huge part of what music is all about. Concentrate on the spaces between each note. You'll improve as a musician when you become capable of listening to other players, as well as your own. The more music you come to appreciate, the more music you have to learn. A career in music will come much easier if you're willing to broaden your musical tastes and capabilities.

If you find yourself constantly playing and listening to the same kind of music, now is the time to try something new. After giving new genres a listen, try playing them. If you're not sure where to start, begin with a melody, harmony or rhythm. Remember, the world has a seemingly endless range of new music to choose from, and giving these new styles a chance will surely widen your musical horizons, and bolster your creativity.