Written by Michael Needleman, Woodwind, Piano and Guitar Instructor at Metro Music Makers
Whether it’s in the car or in shower, or you’re cleaning or just relaxing, everyone listens to music. It’s probably why your child wanted to start learning music in the first place – they heard a song and thought to themselves, “Whoa, I want to do that!” And while practicing can help you learn, listening to music is also a major tool one can use to grow as a musician. Here are some tips to help you become a better listener, and help you enjoy the music you love more!
1. Identify why you like a song. Maybe it’s that crazy high note the singer hits. Maybe it’s the really sweet guitar solo in the middle. Or maybe you just like that booming bass drop. Whatever the reason, figure it out! Once you know what you like in a song, you can seek out more songs that have similar characteristics, and you can start incorporating them into your playing.
2. Listen for changes over time. No two songs are the same, and no band or singer stays the same forever. Maybe you don’t like your favorite band’s newest album as much as their first. Listen to them and figure out what they’ve done differently! Maybe they added another guitar player. Maybe the drums are louder in the new album. Maybe they decided to write slower songs. The possibilities are endless, and figuring out what you don’t like is just as important as figuring out what you do.
3. Listen to something more than once. Pop in an album, or make a play list with no more than 15 songs, and listen to it over and over for a week. Even on the last play-through, you’ll notice things you had never heard before. This will help you not only train your ears to be listening for as much as possible, but also help you figure out why you like or don’t like a certain part.
4. Finally, never stop listening. Listen as much as you can. The more you listen, the more you train yourself to listen for everything in a song. Just as you have to practice to become a better musician, you have to listen to become a better listener.