I have said in the past that I want to learn to read music, not just playa few tabs.

It is not about the need to do something others have done before, nor should learning songs just because whatever reason.

The most important thing is that you should enjoy what you do. However, it does not hurt to take a look at what other ppl have done in the past and/or what artists do these days.

Not sure if I can explain this in a way that makes sense to people who don't want to learn songs, but I'll try anyway: during the past centuries, everything that has been created - be it paintings, music, books, films, photographs, statues, pottery or whatever - all these things always were inspired by the works of others in the past and the present. In fact, famous artists/writers/etc exchanged their views on things quite often, visited each other, met somewhere, had conversations, maybe worked on something together, or simply inspired each other.

Every piece of art is anchored in the past somehow and even if something is very unique, it still uses elements that have been used before.

Look at van Gogh.

Anthon van Rappard - Arbeiders op de steenbakkerij Ruimzicht

His style is quite distinctive, yet he had more or less a teacher (Anthon van Rappard) with whom he exchanged ideas and discussed art for years. Being an autodidact, he pretty much copied the works of others while trying to learn how to paint, impacted mostly by Rembrandt and Frans Hals during his early years. In 1853 he discovered japonism which had a lot of impact on his development as an artist from that point on. In 1886 he went to Paris for two years, being influenced by impressionism and the works of Eugène Delacroix. His works changed over time and helped him develop to become the great painter we know - because he embraced the works of other artists and because he was eager to learn, which really helped him evolve.

You can pick pretty much any artist out there, they all had contact with works of other artists at one time in their life. Especially in music, there are so many influences that not only inspired others to create their own music of similar style but even create new genres, starting something beautiful and unique.

If you want to develop your skills and actually evolve, there is no way around engaging oneself into the works of other artists. Because only by expanding your horizons you will discover new things that will inspire you and shape you which will then enable you to create something great - even if it is just for your own bedroom.

It is ok to say you don't want to deal with what others do, not learn what they have done and pretty much ignore all that, just doing your thing.

That is totally fine.

But sitting in your chamber, doodling around and imagining what the world is like is not the same as actually going out there, meeting people, playing with them, exchanging ideas, inspiring each other, etc.

And no, this is not about creating art like the big guys - it is about an attitude that is less self-centered while still having enough freedom to evolve independently.

In the end, knowing a recipe and understanding it, will help you out so much more when you are trying to create your own stuff. Not because it automatically makes your stuff great, and it also doesn't imply that without that knowledge you would suck hard - not at all. But it gives you more options, simply because you know more ingredients you can play with.