Alfredo Guzman on Listening
As long as I have been taking music lessons, one thing that my instructors have always stressed to me is the importance of LISTENING to music. There are two ways to listen to music; there is passive listening and intent listening. As musicians I think many of us are deterred from listening to art music for long periods of time for any number of reasons: it’s boring, no words, no guitars, etc. Let’s take Mona Lisa for instance – would you marvel in its presence or would you be a critic?
To prepare ourselves for a listening experience, we must have a few things in mind. Will the music have a text? Text carries so much information about the music and story. Also, the choice of instruments used will create a mood we want to plug into. Just as people communicate when talking to one another, musicians must and should be aware of the music around them, especially when performing together. However, in many instances we turn on the radio and just jam out Musicians are people too. Sing along, have fun! Music wouldn’t be special if it was work all the time!!!
Passive listening is most common for everyone since music can act as a soundscape, altering the mood or feeling of your environment. The various questions and curiosities that will arise from listening to music are critical components to becoming a good listener. With these ideas in mind, hopefully our experiences with music can be a little richer.