Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tonal Tuesday - Listening Part 1 - A Learned Skill

I remember when we had Professional Development Days when I was teaching, the teachers would complain that they were more tired that day than from a whole day of teaching.  I had had the opportunity to study and do workshops on Listening, a Learned Skill.  I told them that it took much more energy to listen than to speak.  Their students were experiencing every day what we only experienced a few days a year.  Why do we need to LEARN to listen?  Doesn't it just come with the equipment?  No.  Here are some of the reason why you must learn some skills.

1. Listening Our First Skill - Listening precedes speaking, reading & writing.  Those of us who are lucky enough to have regular hearing abilities learn much of what we learn through our lives by listening.  "Ma-Ma" is learned after mega repetition.  Our ability to listen is directly related to our language acquisition.  After all that intense one to one listening and rote learning, we find ourselves being told to stop being so nosy.  When the adults are talking, you are asked to get lost.  Suddenly, we aren't being encouraged to listen the same way.  In fact, we get can get told to stop listening on one hand while being told that we had better listen when being spoken to.  Now, we are being taught selective hearing.  Our listening ability has slipped.

2. Listening - An Active, Conscious Effort - Hearing is the ability to discern sound.  Listening means we are using our hearing and applying energy and effort to understand, evaluate and appreciate what the sounds are.  As babies we concentrate on the sounds as we are encouraged by the positive reinforcement in the "Good girl", "That's my boy!", "Aren't you smart?".  Gradually that reinforcement can disappear and we slip back in to hearing and those SKILLS slid away.  We get told to "listen up" but have forgotten how.

3. Listening - Techniques for Life Long Learning - If we learn the rules and techniques that constitute the art of listening, we will be able to interact and be aware on a whole new level.  Listening then becomes a powerful communication tool that allows us to be in charge of our lives.  We will make better decisions and feel much more independent as we evaluate the information with insight and understanding.  We become more independent and self-confident and our listening skills give us power over our own lives.

Stay tuned to next Tonal Tuesday when I share how to to learn these skills and put them into practice.  As musicians it is essential that we have great listening skills.  I mean REAL listening skills not just the ability to make others be silent while we expound.

This week, pay attention to how you listen and how others listen or not to you.  Bring that to our blog next week and let's compare notes.

No comments: