The Art of Listening
The Raven & The Road
Listening is one of the fundamental pillars as a musician, understanding the base value and how we can expand upon it as maturing artists, we will unearth the needs surrounding this skill and provide exercises to take with you into the practice room.
Much like learning a language (or to learn most anything for that matter) we Listen - Imitate - Repeat. While you may be able to get off in life with a 9th Grade English education, so too is it in music. We have all met at least one person who can say 3-5 words and instill such a profound moment, as there are also those with an intense knowledge of Merriam Webster who may lull us in their grandiose recitation of flowery rhetoric.
In “Intentional Practice” we incorporated active-listening into our practice session. Doing this, choose one musician (initially on your instrument, then I recommend removing that restriction) and become that individual. Learn an entire album or two, listen for how they articulate notes, transcend the scales, their gravity to chord tones or otherwise, and once you have become their doppleganger, make it yours.
Now we make an amendment to our earlier process: Listen - Imitate - Personalize [ LIP ]. We speak and interact with different flavors and articulations, now is the time to have that incorporated and make it yours.
*With enough Active Ear Training you may rely on your ears to make minor adaptations as needed ( this comes from Listening - Imitating - Personalize - Repeat )*
This is primarily geared towards playing with others:
Know your part so well, both in memory and performing, that your attention may be with listening to the rest of the band.
Know everyone else's part SO YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF:
Does what I’m playing benefit the sound of the whole
Do I need to play right now
Am I filling a space that needs to be filled
*** These are not one-time considerations and your life is forever changed. Come back to this and continue to ask yourself these questions as you practice, in rehearsal, as you listen. There needs to be continual active cognisance revolving these concepts. ***