When was the last time you really listened to music. The melodies, harmonies, rhythms, etc. that work together to make your favorite songs. By putting active listening into your practice schedule you will grow as a musician and get a different perspective on some of your favorite songs.
My high school jazz teacher made us listen to songs actively (all jazz music, but these techniques can be applied to any type of music). I’ve put together a short list of tips for active listening.
- Find the Right Environment
Getting into the right environment for active listening is key. Pick somewhere that you are comfortable and will not be distracted. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes and just focus on the music, nothing else.
- Listen to Each Instrument
Start picking out the different instruments in the mix, I usually start with drums, then bass, guitar, other instruments, and then vocals (if applicable). Sometimes I will listen to the song 5 times in a row, each time listening to a different instrument.
- Try Different Genres
Don’t limit yourself to just one genre. If you usually listen to rock, try WW2-era jazz; If you listen to metal, try classical music. Just keep your ears guessing and you will grow as a musician!
If you have any other great advice about listening to music, actively, leave comment below!