Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Listen to Music, and One Reason Why

Don't stop the beats! Why? Well, listening to music can boost your running performance by 15%. That's pretty significant, and part of the reason why I feel that i'll have to listen to at least some tunes when I run the Burlington Marathon later this month, despite their strong discouragement.
No word on if this will help you achieve this 15% productivity gain, but Elliott Schwartz presented seven essential skills for listening to music in his book Music: Ways of Listening, originally published in 1982. In it, he says that our ears have been “dulled by our built-in twentieth-century habit of tuning out” and thus need to be actively developed. It sounds a bit pretentious, but Brain Pickings gives us a quick synopsis that's worth a read. Essentially, the skills are:
  1. Develop your sensitivity to music. 
  2. Develop a sense of time as it passes
  3. Develop a musical memory. 
  4. Acquire a working musical vocabulary. 
  5. Develop musical concentration (especially when listening to lengthy pieces)
  6. Concentrate upon ‘what’s there,’ and not what you hope or wish would be there. 
  7. Bring experience and knowledge to the listening situation (e.g., info about its composer, history and social context)

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