A different kind of pastime: Music listening. Apostolis geroukos writes.
Preface: None of the following would have been possible without Soundz™ , the exclusive in ear monitor manufacturer based in Greece. At this point I would like to publicly thank the company for hosting my thoughts and opinions on their website.
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Welcome to my blog series, a weekly attempt to talk about all things audio. Having been an avid music lover for as long as I can remember myself hearing sounds -inevitable hyperbole detected- I couldn’t but see myself expressing my views on one hobby to rule them all; a hobby not only overlooked, but also quite unfamiliar for many: listening to music.
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you sat on your comfy couch, far from any kind of distraction -be it others or social media- and listened to a whole album from start to finish with zero pauses whatsoever? Or simply shuffled your playlist without caring about anything else?
That question perfectly summarizes my taste, as I often find myself doing exactly that. If you deem such a question too irrelevant to answer or you might never have thought of such a way to spend your time, you’ve come to the right place. Let us delve deeper into why someone may take up this admittedly addictive hobby. But first, one must understand that critical music listening is what we are after.
The most appropriate way to describe this is that you have to stop doing anything else and listen to the actual recording. Pay attention to every tiny detail, each intricacy, follow specific patterns observed in the track and ultimately, appreciate what your ears are exposed to. But one might be skeptical and claim “Sure thing, I do these daily when casually using my earbuds while commuting or studying”. And my counter-offer is “Do you watch a movie as an afterthought or do you actually sit down and watch the damn thing?” Most people seem oblivious to the fact that it takes two naked eyes to appreciate a picture, but it takes two finely trained ears to actually appreciate a sound.
As important as following a plot is for our understanding of a film, music also has numerous stories to discover and mysteries to unravel. To achieve that, one must have patience and devote some time to listen -and do only that. Suddenly the whole procedure becomes much more appealing; the details jump on you from all directions, details you have never heard before or even thought they might have been there in the first place. And it all ends with the most refreshing grin on your face (apart from vacation days, that is).
Once you embrace the idea of devoting your mind to listening, you find yourself picking up new elements in songs you have listened to numerous times, yet you previously failed to fully grasp. It is such miniscule observations that exercise our brain differently, expand our imagination or even contribute to a different mindset altogether. And I haven’t even mentioned the therapeutic impact that music therapy has on our quality of life, an aspect unanimously and universally supported by many, let alone by scientists specialized in such matters. So there you have it, listening to music has far too many benefits to simply ignore.
During the pandemic, the opportunities to find time and carry out some serious music listening are greater than ever. So, how about playing your favorite recording while meticulously paying attention so as to start acknowledging the experience it has to offer? Only then will you start realising that music is here to guide your soul and lead it to unprecedented yet extremely captivating paths. No matter what genre, album or songs you pick, one thing is for certain; you won’t regret it.
Next time we are going to be more specific as to how you can elevate your listening experience to a whole new level…
Hint: we’ve barely scratched the surface.