V.com weekend vote: Have you been listening to more music, or to less, during these pandemic times?

August 7, 2020, 9:27 PM · Have you been listening to more music, or to less, during these pandemic times?

listen to music

Certainly the current situation has forced certain changes to our music-listening options. First of all, there are no more in-person concerts. But also, I've noticed less music out there in the "real world" - I've heard it in grocery stores, but there's no music at the coffee store when I occasionally pick up a latte, or at the restaurant when I get takeout. There aren't even any buskers at the weekly farmer's market!

Another place where I no longer hear much music: my car. Because I rarely drive!

To me, the world seems much more silent these days. Then again, silence can be the perfect backdrop for true listening.

The new silence in my neighborhood allowed me to hear the birds, the kid practicing piano. I haven't played in an orchestra or ensemble since February, so when I play my violin, I hear only my own playing. Even if I'm playing a duet with a student, the student hears me but I don't hear them. While I hope it feels like a duet on their end, it's very imaginary on mine!

So this brings me to the idea of listening to music. Do you find this to be the perfect time for listening to even more music, or not so much? For example, one of our young guests on Gilharmonic this summer (Claire Lee, age 10) was listening to a concerto every day at breakfast time. Nice! But that might not be the case for everyone. Perhaps you don't feel like listening to music at the moment. Or you are listening to recorded music more than ever; or you are finding so many offerings on the Internet that you are listening all the time.

Do you feel you are listening to more or less music these days? What music are you hearing? Do you find less music in your environment, or more? Do you feel like you have more control over what you listen to? Do you find yourself listening more actively, or passively?

Please choose the answer that best fits for you, and then tell us about how your listening has or has not changed during the pandemic.

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Replies

August 8, 2020 at 04:56 AM · I'm back at my baseline now.

For the first two or three weeks after California's shelter in place order, I listened to a lot more than usual, with the abundance of free streams provided by major performing arts organizations. Then I actually got tired of it and listened to almost no music for more than a month, then listened almost exclusively to choral music for a while because I was still burned out on instrumental music. Recently I'm back to my usual listening habits: classical radio on for much of the day but usually as background music, and occasional YouTube searches for pieces or composers I find interesting.

August 8, 2020 at 12:28 PM · I've been carrying on with my fiddle practice of folk tunes just about daily, but as far as listening to classical music goes. it's dropped off a cliff. I belong to a classical music discussion board where I started a thread about listening to all the main baroque composers.

I had been listening to as many baroque composers as I could find on a regular basis until last year, when we suddenly had to move house and go to rental while searching for a place - our sale went ahead, but our proposed purchase fell through.

During our time renting, I went on listening to baroque music, but rather less. I was looking forward to starting the project again in our nice new house, but I find that I can't concentrate. Getting through each repetitive day just doesn't seem to leave me any mental energy.

August 8, 2020 at 12:54 PM · I put more, but it's in a different way. When my students got switched to remote, or stopped lessons all together, it was really hard for me to even pick up my violin in my free time.It was wierd but it just made me sad to look at it. I needed a good challenge to cheer me up, so I rented a cello and decided to see how far I could get with a few lessons, online help, books, and tons of practice. With the challenge came a lot of cello repertoire for me to listen to and study. A whole new world opened up. My pandemic blues went away, and I have a new skill.

August 8, 2020 at 01:16 PM · Less, because I tend to listen when driving, I disconnected my battery for Covid, but now drive weekly again, but haven't yet reset the radio.

This may be balanced by the times I investigate music using my laptop.

August 8, 2020 at 02:20 PM · Basically the same because the lock-down hasn't really changed our lifestyle. Our routine (or rut) hasn't changed a lot and we still have our activities (tandem bicycling, music librarian, et cetera) that keep us at about the same levels of listening time. We've also gotten a lot of the orchestral music sorted and cataloged with many more drawers of music collected over 60+ years to go through.

FWIW: We're a pair of introverts who actually enjoy not having to make excuses to stay home and we're retired.

August 8, 2020 at 02:26 PM · I listen to a lot more music most of which I seek out. I have added quite a bit of music to my playlists on my phone that I can listen to and have the time to look for more online. I also notice that it seems quieter outside. I hear the birds and crickets more than I used to. I am loving my new musical world in lots of ways but at the same time I'm missing the old musical world terribly.

August 8, 2020 at 04:04 PM · I am listening to much more music and I am seeking it out. In addition to YouTube, I've been actively engaged in listening to various livestream performances. Through my work writing the weekly roundup for v.com, I have discovered many new artists and composers. So I'm making a diligent effort to try and expand my listening repertoire!

August 8, 2020 at 04:39 PM · Although my listening is about the same as it was, I voted More - because I seek it out. In-person performances went out the window for me well before the pandemic -- mainly because of my schedule. Radio, CD, YouTube -- these media have all helped fill the void in recent years.

One area I've sought out more lately: instructional videos by v.com members and YouTubers. This year I've felt especially interested in what others have to say on warm-ups, scale practice, chords, shifting -- things I've been doing since I was a kid but still want to get new views on. I keep learning something new, though I don't necessarily accept every new idea I hear.

Additionally, I'm now making a lot of MP3 tryout recordings in the garage with my phone -- and, as you can imagine, listening back and self-critiquing. There are things I like -- and some I don't like so well. Recording and playing back have better helped me pinpoint -- and fix -- what doesn't measure up. And playback gives me some ideas for interpretation that I might not have otherwise had. The smartphone's onboard microphone does a passable job; but I will have to order an external USB mic and re-do selected audio tracks with it before uploading anything to YouTube -- within the month, I hope.

Away from home, I hear about the same amount of music as before. The gym is one place for this during early afternoon workouts. While working out, I play the game of identifying the key of each song playing in the background. My last personal trainer knew I could identify keys. He would pull pop-quizzes on me during training sessions: "Push, push -- both hands -- squeeze, squeeze. What key is that?"

August 8, 2020 at 06:58 PM · Less. With zero live performances or long-term projects in the near future, I am listening less, but practicing more, which is strange.

I did Tons of listening to recordings when I was young, Now, after age___, I mostly listen to the recordings that are in my head.

August 8, 2020 at 09:02 PM · Laurie, how do you help a student playing a duet if you can’t hear them? I remember when my first violin teacher introduced me to Samuel Goldbaum’s Beautiful Music for Two Violins, when I started third position studies.

Unfortunately, I was more like Einstein’s stand partner described Einstein playing together. I couldn’t count to save my life. ????

August 9, 2020 at 02:51 PM · Don, it only works with students who have worked out the counting and rhythms well. I have a few who have taken the initiative and recorded themselves playing a duet part, then they play along with that, and they play an actual duet for me at their lesson! I can provide a lot of videos To help, but that is still not as good as playing together in person. For those with trouble counting, it’s very piecemeal, trying to work out a duet.

August 9, 2020 at 11:09 PM · My teenage kids have it on all the time on Spotify while they are playing board games, working puzzles, etc. Symphonies, cello and violin concertos, piano music, etc. I recently got the Schubert Tragic Symphony added to the playlist. Some of my other picks (notably modern pieces) have fallen flat.

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