Listening is a vital component to successful teamwork. We should learn to listen better, and to listen in different ways. In this post, I talk about how we encourage different types of listening in our drumming workshops. It’s possible to listen to things and people in different ways.
In my early 20s, I went travelling for about two years and hardly touched drumming at all. This was very strange for me as I had done nothing else but play and listen as a musician every day for more than a decade.
During this gap, I noticed that I was hearing everyday music differently – as a whole entity rather than breaking down the component parts like a puzzle. Musicians tend to break music down into its constituent parts so they can work out how they might play it.
So it’s possible to experience the whole sonic picture or appreciate all the individual parts. Both ways of listening have advantages and disadvantages, and bring different perspectives.
In our drumming workshops, we use a technique to highlight listening awareness. At an appropriate moment in their drumming performance, we ask people how they think it all sounds.
When we tell the group that they might be predominantly listening with their eyes, you can imagine the puzzled looks we get back. Then, we get them to play again but this time with all their eyes closed, and then ask the same question. We always get a very different answer.
By taking away all visual distractions, and concentrating on deeper listening, the drumming sounds much more intense, diverse and interdependent. We use this technique to demonstrate just how our senses can mislead or mask a situation.
Our facilitators use many exercises like this within a drumming event. What seems initially to be a fun activity is really a significant group experience with many deeper messages.
Naturally we don’t advocate closing your eyes in all conversations from now on, but you may like to try it for yourself when you have an appropriate opportunity.
For more information about our team events, please contact us.
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