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Music, Questions

How do you HEAR music?

Thanks to the guidance of some key people in my life, the last few years have been a continual process of learning not just to look at, but to SEE the things around me differently.  Movies have been the most prominent forum for this, to such an extent that it’s the only way I can watch a movie now.

Yesterday, I was on a flight home to Chicago from Florida.  I was tired of reading and decided to listen to some music and do some thinking.  Simple enough.

Well, the ability to HEAR differently does not come quite so naturally or easily.  And while there are a handful of songs that at some point in my listening to them took on a new dimension of meaning  — Sleeping Sickness (City & Colour); On The Radio (Regina Spektor); The Story (Brandi Carlile); Heaven Breaks (Sleeping at Last); Years and Years (JJ Alberhasky) — really hearing is a frustratingly slow and meticulous process for me.

Perhaps it’s a lack of my own musical talent, but for some reason it takes a long time for me to HEAR music in a meaningful way.  The “ah-ha” moment of hearing (not just listening) to a song usually takes me off guard.  Once I HEAR it though, the lyrics and mood and feeling of a song are constantly running through my head — in a way that I wish happened more frequently.

I hope there is a way to HEAR differently that can be practiced and developed.  I’m just not quite sure how… So, the question is, how do you HEAR music?

*PS – I ended up listening to Brandi Carlile’s new CD, Give Up The Ghost.  I’m seeing her in concert in late January and  I’m also seeing St. Vincent in February.  I hope to start with these two albums, practicing hearing them prior to the experience of seeing them performed live.  I’ll let you know how it goes!


About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.


2 thoughts on “How do you HEAR music?

  1. I agree with the above post. Personally I cannot understand why you would not want to make an effort in this regard anyway. Only the other day, at work we had exactly the same conversation and came to a similar conclusion

    Posted by Melony Cominski | January 5, 2010, 10:57 PM
  2. I wish I had been able to teach you to “hear” music the way I do! But, it sounds like you might be getting it. Music affects my soul! Maybe it can’t be taught — maybe you just have to experience for yourself, just once, and then it is yours forever!

    Posted by Judy Curley | January 8, 2010, 5:25 PM

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