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Why listen? Five reasons to listen (and keep listening) to music


Listening is central to the Suzuki Philosophy, we teach music as a mother-tongue, which means we immerse ourselves in the sounds. I observe varying commitment to listening in my studio, and it is always the same people who do best: the ones who listen most.


Ideally children should listen to their current book at least once a day, and the next book regularly. Listen to all the previous books as well. Then listen to anything, (literally anything at all). All music is music: the easiest way to learn what music is, is to listen to it.


Reason #1

It gets the sounds into your brain.


When they listen to repertoire they are to learn, children adsorb the sounds so that when they come to play those sounds, they already “know” how they go. Imagine trying to speak French but never having heard French spoken. (Actually this isn’t something I need to imagine, I tried to teach myself French when I was nine; from a book. It didn’t work until my mum took me to classes and I could imitate the teacher’s sounds).


Reason #2

It’s easy


This is the “one finger practice”. All you need to do to listen is press a button. Then the music plays and you get on with whatever else it is you’re doing. Listening is an excellent thing to do when drawing, reading, learning spelling, doing math, cooking, cleaning, being in the car, playing with Lego, and insert any other activity that doesn’t actively involve ears here. Bonus: most of these activities are non-screen-based.


Reason #3

Because Eleanor said so.


Sometimes you need a higher authority to convince older children to listen. Here it is. You’re welcome.


Reason #4

It’s pleasant


Listening is the point of music. It's primarily about sound, and if we don’t listen to it then it doesn’t really exist. More to the point, listening to music is nice, we like music, music isn't a chore, it's a pleasure: it can relax us after a long day, it can wake us up in the morning, and it can get us moving when we’re out and about.


Reason #5

It’s a cheap alternative to practicing


No, I’m not advocating the idea that if you listen and don’t practice you’ll still be able to play the piano, don’t get excited. I am advocating the idea that if you listen consistently you will find that your practice will become more efficient, old pieces will be better retained and new pieces will come more easily. Also, if you're on holiday and don't have access to a piano, listening can act as a place-holder: people who listen on holiday come back remembering.


That’s it. Now go listen to your current CD. Then listen to the next CD. Then listen to something else. Anything else. Music is a language, to adsorb that language, you need to be listening to it.


All music is music.

Happy Practising.

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