Throughout history, acclaimed music composers such as the German Robert Schuman suggested a series of premises to “educate the ear” of beginners. But what does this actually mean? The book Music: Ways of Listening proposes several practices for the development of attention to improve musical listening and enjoyment.

And while learning how to listen to music could seem to be an innate skill, one which would merely require us to be physically present in a musical context, we learn that listening requires a degree of training in order to increase our auditory sensitivity. Here are some of the advices:

1. Try to listen aesthetically to all the sounds: attentively enjoying the sounds of the environment will allow for any sonorous manifestation, for example a car horn, to become significant and expressive —perhaps even harmonious and beautiful.

2. Develop a sense of timing in the structure of the piece: songs have a given disposition, learning how to locate different moments is important.

3. Develop a musical memory: trying to remember musical patterns in the same song will help you understand their compositions.

4. To study and read about music you will have to learn some technical concepts that will help you understand some pieces.

5. Develop musical focus: In long pieces you must try to find referential moments that will help you understand the part of the song you are listening to.

6. Try to objectively and passionlessly listen: focus on what is there and not what you want to be there.

7. Listen by encompassing your knowledge: when you listen to a piece that alludes to its social, economic and historical context —this will enrich the experience.

It is important to listen to music by ridding yourself of expectation and with “fresh” ears. It is also practical to eliminate our prejudices before different musical genres and to remember that we could now (or later) enjoy pieces or styles which we disliked at a given moment.

Devoting time to listening to music without simultaneously engaging in other activities can help us centre our attention on the present stimuli. In brief, focusing our attention and an open attitude toward a clear perception are key to a more enriching musical experience, which will undoubtedly be positively reflected in other aspects of your life. We must remember what Plato said: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

.

Image:

Antoine Cordet

.

Throughout history, acclaimed music composers such as the German Robert Schuman suggested a series of premises to “educate the ear” of beginners. But what does this actually mean? The book Music: Ways of Listening proposes several practices for the development of attention to improve musical listening and enjoyment.

And while learning how to listen to music could seem to be an innate skill, one which would merely require us to be physically present in a musical context, we learn that listening requires a degree of training in order to increase our auditory sensitivity. Here are some of the advices:

1. Try to listen aesthetically to all the sounds: attentively enjoying the sounds of the environment will allow for any sonorous manifestation, for example a car horn, to become significant and expressive —perhaps even harmonious and beautiful.

2. Develop a sense of timing in the structure of the piece: songs have a given disposition, learning how to locate different moments is important.

3. Develop a musical memory: trying to remember musical patterns in the same song will help you understand their compositions.

4. To study and read about music you will have to learn some technical concepts that will help you understand some pieces.

5. Develop musical focus: In long pieces you must try to find referential moments that will help you understand the part of the song you are listening to.

6. Try to objectively and passionlessly listen: focus on what is there and not what you want to be there.

7. Listen by encompassing your knowledge: when you listen to a piece that alludes to its social, economic and historical context —this will enrich the experience.

It is important to listen to music by ridding yourself of expectation and with “fresh” ears. It is also practical to eliminate our prejudices before different musical genres and to remember that we could now (or later) enjoy pieces or styles which we disliked at a given moment.

Devoting time to listening to music without simultaneously engaging in other activities can help us centre our attention on the present stimuli. In brief, focusing our attention and an open attitude toward a clear perception are key to a more enriching musical experience, which will undoubtedly be positively reflected in other aspects of your life. We must remember what Plato said: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

.

Image:

Antoine Cordet

.

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