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Listening vs Hearing

This month it’s all about listening. A lot of people listen to music, but they don’t necessarily always hear music. So we are going to take the month to have a look at the difference between the two and how that works with music. Let’s dive right in.

The difference between hearing and listening

Hearing something is very passive, it’s involuntary. It’s very much a sensory process. You have ears, and as long as they work, you will hear things whether you want to or not.

Even as we go about our lives we hear things like cars going past, birds singing, computers buzzing. We can choose to just ignore them and they will have no impact on us. But our ears are involuntarily hearing those things. And that requires no real effort.

However, listening can be seen as a totally different thing. It can be active, a very voluntary activity and an intentional process.

When you listen, you are turning your attention onto the sound. And because of that, you will develop an emotional response to that. But it’s very much active. You have to be paying attention and that is super, super important, not just in life.

Think about all the times you’ve been hearing a conversation you’re supposed to be a part of but you weren’t necessarily listening. You were potentially off thinking about what you’re doing next or you are looking at the text that’s just come through.

And so listening is a really good habit to embrace if you don’t already do it and giving somebody your full attention. And I will put my hand up here right now. I am not the best at that. My brain is like generally off 20 to the dozen. So actually trying to pull it back and just focus and listen to one person can be very difficult.

Let’s take this a step further into music and that idea of when did you actually stop, sit down and listen to a piece of music. Quite often you might have the radio or music on in the background and you are hearing it and you will be singing along to it and enjoying it for that purpose. But when have you sat down and listened entirely to a piece of music and to what is going on within it?

That is what we’re going start doing in the following weeks.

Check out the video that goes with this blog.