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Monday Mom challenge: Expand your musical world

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Open your ears

You’re a one genre, one station kind of girl. That’s okay -- really. But are you missing out? And as your kids develop their own musical tastes, will you be left bewildered, wondering how anyone can call that music? Your musical bubble, as enjoyable as it is, is still a bubble. Time to branch out. Expand your musical world.

Open your ears

Remember when you were a kid and your mom got that look on her face every time you turned on "your" music? She was so set in her ways! You swore you wouldn't be like that! But…are you becoming your mother? Are you so attached to your station, your genre that you won't even consider anything else? Time for a change.

1Open your mind, open your ears

Even if you prefer country over classical or jazz over folk, there is more out there to be heard. There are many artists blending genres to terrific affect -- and just because it's labeled one way doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. Open your mind and open your ears.

2Change the station

When you're driving around, change the station. And stick with it for 15 minutes. You may not hear anything you like -- but you might. If you have a teenager with different musical tastes, listen to his station in the car for a whole afternoon. It might grow on you!

3Use an online service

Another fun thing to do is try an online service like Pandora or other music recommending service. The algorithms these companies use can, by your response, determine what about the music you like and direct you to new artists, regardless of genre label. You might find yourself loving a hot new alternative band that you never would have know about if you'd only looked at the label.

4Ask a friend

Have friends with different musical tastes? Ask for recommendations for something new you think you might like. Put a request to your friends on Facebook to tell you their favorite summer song, love song, doing the dishes song or workout song. You'll be inundated with comments! Now go listen to the clips on iTunes and download some for your own enjoyment. It's a small initial investment that may really open up your musical world.

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, musical or otherwise. We all do it. But instead of staying in that rut, break out! Expand your musical world. Your ears will thank you.

More on music, moms and kids

Monday Mom Challenge: Listen to your kids' music
10 Ways music benefits children
Kids' playlist makeover

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