Music Tip #7    From Carol Worthey

Why Is Listening Important?

Carol Worthey

The secret of musical creativity begins, I believe, with listening. Listening is not simply a passive activity, as if one were an empty vessel into which liquid is poured. The art of listening brings one more alive. Try this right now: Take a moment and listen to what may have seemed like near-silence and notice just how many sounds are really happening at the same time the sounds outside the window, the whoosh of some machine, a birdcall, a car approaching, perhaps you can even faintly hear or feel the vibrations of your beating heart, or hear a conversation close or far away, and then underlying all this, perhaps you can "tune into" your own thoughts, feelings, imaginings. Perhaps you sense some memories that have stirred into consciousness or perhaps, more subtly, you can feel some vague remembrance rippling underneath the ocean of your thoughts as you take in all the external sounds.

Ultimately practicing the art of listening to life around you gives you a greater sense of your own aliveness. Listen to the wind whistling through the trees, a baby crying, a machine buzzing, animals calling, listen to the drift of conversation colored by secret yearnings, listen to it all. Above all listen to one's heart, to what one really feels. Learning to listen actively, one learns to listen to oneself and, perhaps most important of all, to listen to others.

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