Deep listening can be thought of as “listening to learn.” It is an active process that can be applied in any situation, whether you’re catching up with an old friend, meeting a potential business partner, or representing a group of individuals engaged in dialog with another group. It can even be used as a kind of mindfulness practice where you listen to your own internal experience, or as we suggest, to help connect with some of your favorite musical performers.
In today’s rapidly changing times, people get caught up in their daily activities and forget to give themselves time for relaxation. The world is moving forward at a great pace and sometimes it feels like we have no choice but to race along with it. However, taking some time to relax and reclaim your calm is one way to make sure you will have the resilience needed to meet whatever life may throw at you.
Preparation for deep listening
Music has always been the go-to place to find some peace and calm amidst our daily routine. Music has the power to rebuild the passion for work, gives us an essential break from the day’s proceedings, and helps us recharge.
In preparation for deep listening, find a block of time that you can devote to the experience. You’ll need to disconnect from all distractions. Turn off your laptop and mobile phone. Schedule some time for yourself and let others know you will be unavailable or are not to be disturbed. One hour per album should be about right.
The perfect setup
The next step involves selecting an album or albums. Everyone has different opinions and tastes, so choosing the perfect album is thus essential. Keep in mind that through deep listening, you are trying to get a better understanding of the artist and the thoughts and emotions they are trying to convey through their work. Certainly choose music you enjoy, but feel free to go for something upbeat if you want.
Once you’ve made your selections, put some thought into setting the room up. Dim light or candles will help minimize visual stimulation and help you concentrate on what’s coming to you through your ears. Likewise, you can consider using headphones if you find them comfortable. Be sure you aren’t hungry or thirsty as that will also distract you. When everything is ready, start your deep listening session!
Advantages of deep listening
According to Naz Beheshti: “Deep listening springs from a desire to better understand a person or situation and authentically connect with them. When we listen deeply, we do so without judgment or preconceived ideas. We are open to surprise and new insights.” (Forbes)
Practice this skill with your favorite album. Manage it with the same intensity of focus you have when reading a novel or watching a movie. You may see some surprising benefits, including more calmness and positivity along with better self-awareness and an improved ability to stay focused and keep track of all the thoughts and ideas running through your brain. Clearly, these are big advantages in today’s fast-paced world.