Journalism Tips #4 – ‘How To Avoid Becoming Jaded’

Hello again. We know it’s Saturday, so before diving in we just wanted to thank you for taking a little time out from your weekend to read up on the latest industry advice and insight. We are thrilled to be sharing the fourth chapter of our ongoing ‘Journalism Tips’ series this afternoon, and at the same time a bit sad as it is the final contribution (for now) from writer Adrian Garza. We have enjoyed have his work on the site in recent weeks and encourage all of you to follow his industry efforts moving forward. 

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I hate admitting this, but the truth is, as one who dedicates so much time towards an involvement with music, I mistakenly became pretty arrogant and jaded about my taste. But thankfully, I eventually caught and corrected myself before I stepped on one too many toes. 

It’s scary how fast these sorts of things could happen to you if you don’t keep yourself in check. Even worse, it’s really easy to grow to get tired of some specific aspects of music, which can become a shame, because we all know that’s one of the reasons why we came into working with music: We love it. 

This isn’t what I would claim as the answer to the problem. This is just my answer to the problem. Go and make your own choices.

Realize Your Opinion Isn’t the Only One That Matters 

Fresh faces to music journalism are the ones who are most likely to come to fault here. Just because you’re in a position where complete strangers look to you for your opinions and insight on something doesn’t mean that you’re correct with what you say all of the time. More than anything, you’re just somebody who’s developed an ear for what sounds good, a talent for writing appealing articles, and a passion that drives you to put the two together. So consider yourself just another voice that can easily be ignored.

Create Something

As one who puts my own personal musical endeavors on the backburner, I occasionally pick up my guitar from time to time. Every time that I do so, I usually walk away from it feeling more inspired than ever before. It’s tricky to attempt to label down specific reasons for why this just works for me in the way that it does, but I will say that by playing along to my favorite records, it’s easy to gain a whole new level of understanding why some musicians just love to smother records with catchy and simple parts: They’re usually really, really fun to play.

Even if you have no artistic skill whatsoever, you could still get a lot out of simply sitting in on a friend’s band’s writing session or practice. Call it weird, but I find it fulfilling to see the look in a musician’s eyes when they discover a way to hike up the quality of a song just by changing up a couple parts.

Surround Yourself with People Who Are New to Music

In a very similar vein, take a look at people who are new to going to shows. It might be a little hard to believe, but that was you not too long ago. They’re having a freaking blast just by standing in the third row, and it makes their freaking day when they get the chance to meet the artist that they’ve waited “x” amount of hours to see perform for 30 minutes.

I’m not suggesting that people should return back to that state of mind, because I don’t ever see myself going back to waiting in lines just to get in early to shows, or riding city busses for 2+ hours just to pick up a physical copy of an album on its release date. That’s just way too inconvenient for me nowadays. Instead, realize that you can still re-live that and enjoy the gratification by sharing your favorite groups with friends. If they fan-boy/girl a bit, it’s only natural.  

Move on

Have you ever tried to step out past your conventional listening boundaries? There’s no way you’re literally that full of yourself that you couldn’t possibly check out a foreign genre, or even newer artists. There’s likely some redeeming quality that attracts fans to this. Branch out and try something new, because it will give you that much more of an understanding for why people enjoy their music. Don’t even think about doing this for the sake of looking “versatile” to others, do it so you’re not so close-minded and judgmental. You never know when you’ll come across your new favorite artist that inspires you to do great things, and for all you know, that could very well be a jazz fusion band. 

When he’s not getting the feels from listening to some ‘Through Being Cool,’ Adrian Garza writes at Under the Gun Review and works as the Editor-In-Chief at The Southeastern Times, Southeastern University’s student newspaper. Follow him on Twitter.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.