My New Year’s resolutions often stress me out. The pressure to stick to one or another resolution, while self-imposed, only lasts for the month of January. And so, resolutions are often ephemeral and forgotten; to most, the practice is redundant and unsustainable. The one aspect of life that is sustainable for me, and I know for many other people, is music.

As a music lover, most of my waking hours are spent listening to my favorite bands, playlists, etc. I have playlists set up for various daily tasks and situations to top it all off. After reflecting on this past year, I knew I could become better in many aspects but most of all, I could become a BETTER music lover. That’s where this list comes into play. My advice is to choose one or two that seem doable, it will change the way you experience music.

1. Expand Your Collection

With streaming services making it virtually unnecessary to buy physical copies of CD’s and vinyl, I understand the apprehension of buying them. HOWEVER, for bands that you truly support and admire, try to buy a physical copy of an album this year to really show your support! Buy directly from the band’s website or visit a local CD/Record shop (yes they still exist and yes they are great!)

2. Go to More Concerts (don’t film them)

Now, going to concerts of your favorite bands are often not cheap. If you can save up though, make it a point to go see them live this year, buy merch and sing along at the top of your lungs. I suggest going to more small shows at smaller music venues, restaurants and bars as well. You never know what new band you could discover. Also, try to keep your phone in your pocket during one of them, stay present and look at the band with your own eyes and not through the screen of your phone (the audio and visual will not be great anyway).

3. Start a Music Journal

This one is definitely something new to try. Every song has that one lyric that really captured your attention upon first hearing it. WRITE IT DOWN. Write them all down somewhere, write about the emotions YOU felt while listening. You might surprise yourself.

4. Invest in Good Speakers and Headphones

Convenience store sets don’t cut it sometimes and don’t last. You don’t have to buy top of the line brand name stuff. Just make sure that you enjoy the sound quality. This will vastly improve your music listening experience.

5. Be Active on Your Favorite Band’s Socials

Follow them, comment, BE INFORMED. Like the picture of their dog, be happy that they are living a good life. Bask in the knowledge that you contribute to their happiness just as they contribute to yours. Spread positivity in 2019.

6. Devote Time to Listening to a Complete Album

The average person spends 2-4 hours a day on their phone. I’m not telling you to stop, just use some of this time to listen to every song on an album, in order. Bands often put songs in a particular order to coincide with the albums concept. Try to decipher lyrics and absorb their meaning.

7. Go Beyond the Music

This year, try to remember the names of ALL of the members in the bands that you like (if you haven’t already). Follow their personal socials in order to get to know them as people. Understanding them on a slightly more personal level will help you relate to the music more.

8. Start or Follow a Fan page/account

Warning: fan accounts require A LOT of hard work to maintain. Support fan accounts for your favorite bands in order to stay really up to date on any news. (Try to ignore ones that pretend to be members of the band or claim to update the band’s whereabouts 24/7—these, while amusing, are quite scary upon further thought).

9. Research New Bands to Follow

This year, try to discover some new bands that may or may not have hit it big yet. Check out new recruits for different labels, listen to debut albums, go to smaller shows. Listen to something new every week. Also, DON’T hesitate to like a band just because its popular or mainstream, don’t be that person. Simply enjoy it or if you don’t like the sound, click away. There’s enough negativity in the world. Don’t add to it.

10. Send a Letter

Some bands have P.O. boxes or allow mail to be sent to their labels. For those bands that have really lifted your spirits over the years, or made you laugh, smile, cry—write them a letter, type it if you want. Let them know that you are out here listening and supporting them. You never know how needed it may be or the difference it may make. If neither of these options are available, publish the letter to Twitter, Instagram, or direct message them. You may never get a response, but your positivity is out there and that’s what matters.

I encourage you to try one of the resolutions on this list in 2019. We can all become better music lovers together.

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