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--- Sep 09 1999 Go to category
Subject: learning to listen
Category: Musical Philosophy
From: Safa  Okan (Turkey)

Dear Pat, First I'd like to thank to you and your trio for a magnificient night in concert on last Saturday in Istanbul. I've been interested in your music for more than a decade and listened to every path of jazz since my early teenagehood. This was the first chance that I've listened to you live. I hope you'll be back in Turkey soon. My quetion is about the concept of learning to liten to something. In american garage discussion group I happened to see that one of young fans of you had problems to get into the album Song X. In fact so do I. But I did not make problem of it. However this fan aksed for a way to learn to listen to that album. Do you think that there is something "to learn to listen"? I presume there is some sort of education in music listening. But what are the paths one must follow? How one can educate himself? I think this concept basicly connected to the one that you are mentioning in your answer to Brad on MArch 24 1999. Because the unfortunately unpopular type of music usually comes out to be the real valuable one, we must always find a way to understand and love and learn to listen to these elite pieces of music.

Pat’s Answer:

hi safa,

i think it is very possible to "practice" listening the same way one practices playing. but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with just plain not liking something - in my own experience i have found that my basic aethestic towards listening has not really changed too much since i was about 10 years old - but it has gotten much deeper. mainly, (and this sounds simpler than it actually is) i try to really hear everything that is going on at all times - to really follow all of the harmonic,melodic and rhythmic information in parallel as much as i can. even listening to things in nature as if it were music (well, it is actually...) can be a great excercise. i hope the earthquake there did not affect you safa - i have of course been worried about all of the people who came to our gig and that we met there.....

best from pat m.