Why Is Jazz So Boring? (10 Reasons)


Jazz band on stage group portrait


Whether you’re visiting your grandparents’ house or spending time at a specific restaurant or store, you may run into some jazz music.

To some people, jazz is the music of the soul.

To others, it’s just boring.

If you find yourself in the latter category, you may wonder why people even enjoy listening to jazz.

If you’re part of the former, you may wonder why people find jazz boring.


Why Is Jazz So Boring? (10 Reasons)


1. Doesn’t Always Have Lyrics

musician plays alto saxophone over piano with Bokeh light background


A problem some people have with jazz is that it doesn’t always include lyrics.

Like any other genre of music, jazz has its variations.

Some jazz has vocals while other types of jazz rely solely on instruments.

If you’re someone who prefers to listen to lyrics, you might find jazz rather boring.

You only have the various instruments that they play to listen to.

With the typical music that you listen to, you may not even notice the instruments in the background if you focus solely on the lyrics.

When it comes to jazz, it’s the instruments and notes they play which are usually the primary focus of the song.

You might also like to sing along with songs.

That might be what makes music entertaining to you.

You’re able to participate in it by singing along with it.

In jazz, if it doesn’t have lyrics, the best you can do is hum along with the instruments.

If that doesn’t sound exciting or interesting to you, you might find listening to jazz to be quite boring.


2. Requires Attentive Listening

Guy In Wireless Headphones And Leather Jacket Listening His Favorite Songs


In order to listen to and enjoy jazz, you have to pay attention to it.

Jazz is a bit more complex than pop or other similar types of music.

There aren’t a bunch of lyrics that you can memorize.

Sometimes, there isn’t even a melody or chorus that you can rely on.

To actually listen to jazz, you have to pay attention to it.

In today’s world of shortening attention spans, that isn’t always easy for people to do.

It isn’t just that you have to sit and listen, either.

You have to listen actively.

To appreciate jazz, you have to dig in deeply and keep an ear out for tonal changes or rhythm changes.

Not everyone has the patience or attention span to give jazz its due.

If you can’t actively listen to jazz for an extended time, you’ll probably find the genre boring.

Most songs aren’t something you learn by heart after you listen to them for the first time.

It requires time and attention.

With pop being relatively dumbed down for the masses, some people have become used to the instant gratification they get from music.

They’re used to knowing the song and its rhythm after one or two times hearing it.

They enjoy the music because they understand it and know how it goes.

To have the same experience with jazz requires more time and attention than some people want to give.

Jazz is boring because it requires a larger attention span in order to enjoy it.


3. Appreciation Comes From The Complexity Of The Music

Jazz band performs at the club


When it comes to jazz, you have to pay more attention to it than you do to other types of music.

Jazz is more similar to classical music than to pop or rock.

Like classical music, the bulk of the attention goes to the instruments.

You’re listening to the rapid notes that they play, the sudden change in rhythm or tempo, or even the sudden tone change.

It’s less about listening to the music for a melody and more about listening to the complexity of the piece.

There’s also a bit of a difference when it comes to modern jazz and swing jazz.

Swing jazz tends to adhere a bit more to the rhythm.

Modern jazz is more interpretative and focused on technique.

That’s why a lot of modern jazz fans are jazz musicians themselves.

They’re able to recognize the technical difficulty of the music and appreciate it for its difficulty.

To non-jazz players, the sudden shifts and changes might just sound like a mess.

It’s difficult to find something interesting when you’re not aware of its technical aspects.

Jazz is boring because its focus is on the complexity of the music rather than the melody.


4. You Don’t Enjoy Improvisation

Bored man texting while on the train


Another key aspect of jazz is improvisation.

When you watch a live jazz group play, they’ll play a few songs that they wrote or that someone else wrote.

However, it’s also not uncommon for them to suddenly go off the music pages and start improvising.

The best jazz players can improvise incredible jazz riffs that are both complex to play and also go along with the original piece that they were playing.

It’s also not uncommon for almost every member of the band to have time to do some improvisation.

You might not like improvisation.

You might prefer that they keep to the music that they’re supposed to play.

The sudden shift of rhythm or even tone might be jarring for you.

It’s also difficult to follow the song because they’re making it up on the spot.

Others who enjoy jazz tend to love when jazz artists improvise.

It’s a chance for them to show how skilled they are.

Since improvisation can make a jazz piece all the more complex, not everyone enjoys it.

Jazz is boring if you don’t like improvisation in your music.


5. Not Listening To The Right Type Of Jazz

jazz band is playing beautiful jazz


Like other types of music, there are several variants of jazz.

You might find jazz boring because you’re listening to the wrong variant.

Most people tend to split jazz into two main categories with a few sub-variants in each.

The two categories are early jazz and modern jazz.

Early jazz tends to comprise genres like swing jazz, big band, bebop, hard bebop, free jazz, and a few others.

Modern jazz tends to comprise genres like fusion and contemporary.

One might argue that early jazz had more soul in it than modern jazz.

That’s largely because early jazz often comprised the blues music genre.

Modern jazz, on the other hand, tends to be more technical.

It’s less about rhythm and more about the complexity of the notes and tempo and arrangement of the music.

You might find that you enjoy swing jazz but find modern jazz to be quite boring.

Modern jazz can feel quite cold and robotic to you while swing jazz can feel more lively.

It’s all about finding the right genre that matches your preferences.

Jazz is sometimes boring if you’re listening to the wrong genre of jazz.


6. You Don’t Like Piano Music

Afro American man playing piano


An instrument that is often used in jazz is the piano.

In modern jazz, some songs exclusively use a piano.

You won’t hear any saxophones or clarinets accompanying it.

This can be a problem for some people.

To some, the sound of certain pianos can feel quite cold.

The pinging and droning of the piano keys may even put them right to sleep.

They may even find listening to an electric piano to be even worse.

Pianos on their own can sometimes feel quite harsh on the ears.

When it’s the only thing you’re listening to, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to enjoy the song.

As such, you might find that you like jazz when it isn’t only a piano in the song.

You might enjoy jazz that has trumpets and saxophones playing with the piano.

Both those instruments add a bit of life to the music.

They don’t have the cold tones that a piano uses.

Jazz is boring if you don’t like the sound of a piano.


7. Long Songs

African American jazz musician playing the saxophone


Another problem with jazz is that it usually features very long songs.

Swing jazz and big band don’t have quite as long of songs as modern or contemporary songs.

You can almost think of some swing jazz songs as the pop of their day.

They had relatively short songs, and some even had lyrics.

Big band pushed the length of the song a bit longer.

Once jazz dropped lyrics entirely, the composers started to write songs that were several minutes in length.

Today, it’s not uncommon to find modern jazz songs that last five to 10 minutes.

Some last even longer.

That requires listeners to pay attention for a long time without a break.

While that might be ideal for background music, for people who want to actively listen to music, it can be quite fatiguing.

It comes back to attention spans.

Not everyone has the attention span to listen to a song that lasts for several minutes.

They can grow bored with it, especially if it starts to sound the same after a while.

The fact that it doesn’t have lyrics can also make it difficult for people to enjoy.

There’s nothing to break up the instruments or lead them through the song.

Jazz is boring when it has very long songs.


8. Uses Discordant Notes And Dissonance

live music band


Another problem some people might have with jazz is that the notes aren’t always harmonious.

In fact, some jazz players specifically create songs that use discordant notes.

They might even have a bit of harmony leading into the song, but then there might be a stretch of the song that’s discordant and dissonant.

If you’re not used to listening to music like that, it can come as quite a shock.

It may even be unsettling.

The cinema has trained the brain to recognize discordant music as a sign of danger.

In jazz, it’s just part of the genre.

If you prefer harmony, however, you might jazz difficult to listen to.

Jazz is sometimes boring because it uses discordant notes which can be unpleasant to listen to.


9. Beat Isn’t Always Reliable

World Jazz festival


In pop music, there’s always an underlying beat that runs throughout the song.

It makes the music easy to dance to and easy to remember.

In jazz, that isn’t always the case.

The beat might suddenly change halfway through the song.

It might feel as though you’re listening to a completely different song.

Since it’s sometimes difficult to rely on the beat, you might not enjoy the music as much.

Jazz is boring when you can’t rely on the beat.


10. Little Audience Participation

audience is watching a local jazz band


A final reason jazz is boring is that it doesn’t always engage the audience.

In the case of swing jazz or big band, this isn’t always the case.

If you know how to swing dance, you can have a lot of fun with swing jazz.

Modern jazz, however, isn’t about dancing.

It doesn’t encourage its audience to do anything but listen.

For some people, that can make the experience of listening to music quite boring.

Some people like to sing with others.

Others like to dance.

Modern jazz doesn’t always make that possible.

As such, it can be a very boring experience just sitting there and listening to music.

Jazz is boring because it doesn’t actively engage its audience.



Jazz can be a great music genre if you have the right attention span and appreciation for it.

However, because of how different modern jazz is from other types of music genres, it can be difficult for people to listen to it.

Since it’s more difficult to appreciate and enjoy, it can come off as boring.

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