My apologies to Skittles lovers, as this does not relate to tasting the rainbow in anyway.
I realized early on that I listened to music on many levels. What I have found is that over the years the number of levels has increased. Not to say that all of these levels are achieved with every song I listen to— but I can listen to music and have more than one way of perceiving what I listen to simultaneously:
- I, like nearly everybody who listens to music, enjoys the music I listen to. It may seem like this is obvious— but sometimes the other ways of listening to music tend to drown out the good feeling I get when I hear a great song.
- There are several different kinds of analysis, but I typically focus on music theory and practice. I listen for the different chordal structures used; the phrases and how they are executed; melodies and counter melodies
- I am not a choreographer, but I do like a song that makes you want to get up and dance. I also enjoy trying to interpret the way the song rises and falls and how that moves me both physically and emotionally. There is so much here that it probably deserves a separate post entirely.
- Usually this goes hand in hand with music analysis. I try to figure out how the song is structured and how I would write the music so others can perform it.
- Since I have a degree as a sound engineer, I tend to listen to music using a technically acoustical approach. I ask myself how that particular sound is reproduced— or even how the engineers who recorded the song may have set up the microphones in order to capture that sound. I listen for the balance and the layering involved. I listen to see if they used compression and determine how best to make the sound translate to mono. etc. etc.…
- Being an educator means that you are looking for ways of teaching something. Since I have a degree in Music Education, I look for ways of teaching the song. This ranges from how do I pick apart the melody to teach it to somebody, to even how do I teach the diction to the singer so that they pronounce it appropriately.
- I tend to gravitate towards songs that have interesting lyrics. I enjoy interpreting the lyrics and what they mean to me. I also enjoy good wordplay and creative diction which makes singing it quite a challenge.
I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones that seem most prominent. What about you… in what ways do you listen to music?