I’ve talked a lot about how fun it is to listen to music and think about where all the different parts come from. Sometimes it really easy to say, “Hey, that’s a drum set or that’s an acoustic guitar.” It’s perhaps a little more challenging to think about how the different elements in a piece of music were captured or treated, like: “That voice sounds as though it was recorded in an airplane hanger. I wonder if it really was or if it’s just an effect… or, that sure is a heavily gated reverb sound on the snare drum. It totally reminds me of the 80’s”
Sometimes we can have similar experiences when we’re talking to people. The langue and the tone that a person uses can help us to paint a picture about that person. Sometimes, we bring our own baggage into the mix based upon our association with the cues that we hear from them. But if we try to listen with an open heart often we can pick on more subtle notes.
Last week I took part in an ongoing, world wide project called Urban Confessional. The idea was to get a group of people together and offer free listening to strangers on the street, no strings attached. I’ll admit I was a little intimidated. After a brief orientation we all made cardboard signs that simply said, “Free Listening.” And then we went out to some high foot traffic areas and help up our signs. It was pretty amazing experience. I think I learned as much about myself as I did other people. Feel free to click on the link above or just Google: Urban Confessional to learn more.
One of my favorite aspects of the experience was something called the 80/20 rule. The goal is to spend at least 80% of the engagement with a person just listening and 20% asking questions or answering any questions they might have.
I feel like the 80/20 rule is not a bad mindset when listening our friends in daily life. It’s also an interesting way to music as well. How many times do we start judging something before even taking the time to sit down and really listen? Maybe you can even try applying the 80/20 technique while listening to this months playlist?
Below is a playlist of songs that have resonated with me in the past month. I hope they bring more joy to your life. Thanks for listening, MMM
Included are songs by: Digital Underground, Pixies, R.I. Peter, Jungle, Low, Heartless Bastards, BLACKSTARKIDS, Lucy Arnell, CARM, Zapp, Steve Shiffman & The Land Of No, Esther Rose, Rodrigo Amarante, Leon Bridges, MONO, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Marcos Valle
(Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.)