Most musicians, or just people in general have a love or passion for one particular style of music, be it Rock, R&B, Metal, Rap, etc... It could be what we grew up with, or what we've picked up along the way. Unfortunately, many out there stick to their favorite and never venture out into other styles and genres. This is a sad truth because there is so much good music out there in all styles. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the music that is disliked by a person is simply because the person either does not understand the music, or they simply have not heard it enough to feel it. Sometimes we hear one bad song from a genre and we alienate the entire category without even checking out more from the genre. As Neil Peart from Rush states in the song "Limelight", "Put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination" So how can this be fixed? Why should you bother? I'll try to answer these questions here and hopefully convince you to explore other realms of music.
Why bother? - Personal growth as a musician
Exploring different can teach you LOADS about music and your instrument. Imagine if a rock bassist never listened to funk. He might never be exposed to slap techniques. If he ignored jazz, he would miss out on leaning how to make the bass a much more prominent instrument. If a classical guitarist never listened to Metal, he would never know about pinch harmonics. The examples are countless. EVERY style of music can teach you something, whether it is timing, a new technique, rhythms, new chord progressions, or some other wonder of music.
For bass players jazz can teach you how to those sexy write lines that make the songs amazing and it shows you how to lock in with the drummer. On the other hand, playing pop music can teach you to control.
It's the opposite for guitarists. Jazz is where the guitar takes a backseat and is mostly (not always) there for rhythm whereas pop rock will let you shine
For drummers, jazz will teach you to lock in with the bassist and really lets you shine. In pop, you are very important to keep a steady rhythm and a constant tempo, but usually you need to learn to control yourself and stick to basic beats.
The list goes on forever. And even though I only mention pop and jazz here, of course these are not the only groups you should learn from.
How to listen? - Understanding the music
So you don't like jazz... or rock.. or R&B... or whatever. GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HEAD! Enjoyment of music begins by a want to understand it. If you approach an unfamiliar style with the attitude of this is gonna suck, then you'll never like it. You have to give the music a chance. ALL music has some inspiration and some personal emotion from the artist. Anger, love, peace, remorse... anything.
Something that helps when listening to a new style is to listen to your part. If you play guitar, listen to that. Bass? Listen to it! Listen for the techniques, rhythms, and anything else you can hear. Try to listen to the lyrics. Find a meaning in them. Try to understand what the song is about, the emotion it is sending.
Still don't like it? - Don't give up!
Keep listening! Find other songs of that style. Perhaps your first try was just a bad song. You'll never know until you try.
Try learning the song. Look up the tab or music for the song and play along with it. You'll be surprised how some songs that you used to hate become enjoyable once you jam with it.
Hopefully reading this article has inspired you to give up your preferences and start enjoying music as a whole. ALL music is beautiful in it's own way, so don't cast it out because of the label put on it!