By September 6, 2009 1 Comments Read More →

Talking About Listening

I can’t think of a single person I know who reads and doesn’t also listen intently to a particular form of music. Book group members are always talking about what they listen to while they read, unless they are listening to what they read.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to discuss music in the same way we discuss books? Tom Moon has beaten us to the punch and written a short pamphlet as a companion to his book, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die. This little gem is the Listening Group Guide and even if I don’t get a listening group off the ground, there’s some useful tips in here to take to the book group. Get a look at the .pdf on the Workman Publishing site.

Briefly, Moon encourages us to listen with the same degree of attention that we pay to our reading. Like a reading group, a listening group can expose members to different types of music and help members understand why they like what they listen to.

Moon writes that the goals for a listening group are similar to those of a book group, “explore ideas.” The greatest difference is that most members of the group will not be prepping before the discussion since they’ll be doing the listening at the meeting.

In this very useful and interesting guide, Moon provides suggestions for structuring a listening group, the length of the pieces, optimum number of listeners, what a “facilitator” or “DJ” might do, and what a listener needs to know in order to listen to and discuss music. This is the one aspect of a listening group that might garner the most questions from curious audiophiles. The answer, in short, nothing. A participant can be as educated in the technical aspects of music as he or she wants to be, but it isn’t necessary.

Someone is bound to ask if there are discussion questions to go along with a particular piece of music. One of the benefits of a listening group is every song does not come with it’s own set of questions. Moon includes a list of standard questions to generate conversation about the music selections.

This is the kind of discussion group that anyone can drop in on and no one has to worry about plot spoilers or ruining the ending for others.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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