|Deep Listening is a practice that I have created and taught over
many years of exploration and discovery. For me sound and music are
never-ending sources of fascination and of connection with the world around
me and inside of me. I hear sound and music with my inner ear as well as
my outer ear. Listening is the heart of my profession as a musician and
composer. Listening connects me with the vital spirit of being. The
poems, scores and writings of my students confirm this to me.
Hearing is an involuntary physical act that happens through our primary sense organ when sound waves impinge upon the ear. Everyone with healthy ears can hear. Listening takes cultivation and evolves through one's lifetime.
Listening is noticing and directing attention and interpreting what is heard. Deep Listening is exploring the relationship among any and all sounds. Hearing is passive. We can hear without listening. This is the state of being tuned out - unaware of our acoustic ecology - unaware that the fluttering of a butterfly's wings has profound effect near and in the far reaches of the universe. We can hear sounds inwardly from memory or imagination or outwardly from nature, or from civilization. Listening is actively directing one's attention to what is heard p noticing and directing the interaction and relationships of sounds and modes of attention. We hear in order to listen. We listen in order to interpret ourselves and out world and to experience meaning.
Our world is made of vibrations as we are made of vibrations. Vibration connects us with all beings and connects us to all things. We open ourselves to vibration in order to listen to the world as a field of possibilities and we listen with narrowed attention for specific things in the world such as the music we might be performing. We interpret what we hear according to the way we are listening. Through accessing many forms of listening we grow and change whether we are listening to the sounds of our daily lives, the environment or to music.
For me, Deep Listening is a lifetime practice. The more I listen the more I learn to listen. Deep Listening involves going below the surface of what is heard and also expanding to the whole field of sound whatever one's usual focus might be. Such forms of listening are essential to the process of unlocking layer after layer of imagination, meaning, and memory down to the cellular level of human experience. Listening is the key to performance. Responses, whatever the discipline, that originate from Deep Listening are connected in resonance with being and inform the artist, art and audience in an effortless harmony.
Babies are the best Deep Listeners.