This morning I clicked on a link in the online Arts Journal to a blog post titled "How Writers Read." This got me wondering about how music theorists listen -- not in the sense of what you hear while listening to this or that music, but (in the sense of the survey of writers in the blog post): what do you listen to outside the expectations/requirements of your profession? I don't intend this as a questionaire & the following questions, numbered only for reference, are only suggestions to stimulate sharing thoughts about what you personally listen to & why (-- and perhaps as a bonus, how the answers might affect how this might help you help others to open up their own ears to as broad a sound spectrum as possible).
- Do you tend to listen to music you know well already, or do you tend to explore? (What does "explore" mean to you with regard to listening to music?)
- What sorts of contemporary works do your ears gravitate toward?
- How often do you listen just to stretch your ears?
- Why do you listen to something you've never heard before? How do you approach music entirely unfamiliar to you?
- Do you listen to much music from outside your geo-political sphere? (e.g., American theorists: beyond the usual well-knowns names, how much music do you listen to from European, South American, African, Asian sources?)
- How do you find music you've never heard before? Regular or occasional focussed searches? Journal article mentioning a piece you've never heard? Random perusal of web site lists? Serendipity?
- Do you tend to look for works to listen to that are inside or outside your professional sphere?
- Common writers' advice to students is to read widely -- how do you encourage your students to listen widely? (Or should they focus on music related to current coursework?)
- Do you keep a (non-technical) "listening diary" of your impressions on first hearings & do/would you encorage your students to do this?