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“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear”.  -Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes’ famous words to Dr. Watson can be rephrased to reference the ear rather than the eye as the sensory organ of observation: You hear, but you do not listen. In these parallel statements, the implication is that “seeing” and “hearing” are passive, while “observing” and “listening” are active, requiring a heightened level of engagement from the observer or listener but also resulting in a greater acquisition of knowledge.

Music surrounds us everyday—it is on our playlists, the radio, commercials, soundtracks for movies or television shows, our neighbors’ stereo and of course — in the band hall —yet we seem to have mastered the art of hearing without listening. Nevertheless, listening to the music is the power to enrich our engagement in the circle if we learn the art of active listening and how to connect what we hear with the broader conceptual network. To practice active listening, we must—like Dr. Watson—learn to observe with our ears.

Get inside the music.

 

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