Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ideal Music Appreciation

In an ideal (okay, make that my ideal) world music appreciation would consist more of getting listeners to feel comfortable listening for the sake of listening to music of whatever genre and then being able to talk about it, right then and there perhaps; after half an hour, perhaps; next day, perhaps; after a year, etc.

I can recall performances that literally left me speechless but which motivated years of followup work.  I can still vividly recall performances I heard 50 years ago as well as particular sounds I heard last week.

We have been so conditioned to believe in some fictional correct way of listening that we have little confidence that we do, indeed, hear.

I think this is what is behind the false vocabulary of so much music promotion and criticism.  It's time for listener empowerment.

Someone once had the great idea of publishing a journal of music criticism in which performers, composers, teachers would review performances they recalled from their past.  What a beautiful idea.  We might learn to risk making our own sense out of what we hear.