I think it's pretty safe to say that nearly everyone's first relationship with music is as a listener.
My most vivid early memories involve listening for long hours to music. I'm pretty sure it was my grandmother's way of keeping an early-rising toddler from waking everyone in the house. I wandered over to her room, in a remote corner of the house, and she set up me next to her record player, playing LP after LP. I rocked in my little rocking chair and listened, alerting her whenever the needle reached the end of a record.
Strangely enough, I think this was some of the most active listening that I ever did. I had few distractions: no television, no computer screen, no smartphone, no pending to-do list.
These days it's hard to find time for active listening -- that is, the kind of listening which fully focuses on the music.
More often, music is one of many elements of multi-tasking. It happens in the background: on Youtube while reading an article in another tab; as the backdrop for eating; in the headphones while exercising; on the speakers when driving.
But to truly meditate on music? It can happen in a concert hall. It can happen if you shut off all other distractions. But how often is this the case?
I'd argue that this kind of pure listening is very important to musicians -- we can get very busy playing, teaching, and doing all kinds of music-related activities, then find that we have not truly listened for quite some time.
For this week's vote, I wanted to explore how often everyone is able to make listening to music into a singular task. How often do you listen to 10 or more minutes of music, without any distractions? Playing it does not count. It can be at a concert or elsewhere; but there should be no extra activities, just listening. And for teachers, listening to your students while you are teaching them, does not count. Please mark the vote, and then describe your best moments of pure listening from the recent past.
And if you haven't done this in a while, consider scheduling a music-meditation for yourself, or a trip to the concert hall!
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