How curiosity and innovation are lost when music ceases to become awe-inspiring and instead becomes a tool to show how cool you are.
I’ve got a lot of great friends that are great musicians. And it seems that whenever a group of musicians get together, the conversation always, at some point, gravitates towards which bands suck, which styles suck, which musicians suck, etc.
Whatever happened to just listening? When did we get so cool that we can’t listen without being too cool for what we’re listening to? Can we really be too cool for music?
Have you ever been to a relationship counselor? I was married a few years back (we divorced and remain great friends today) and we saw a marriage counselor for a while. The first thing she had us do was learn how to listen. I thought to myself, “I’m a musician. I know how to listen already!” But I slowly realized how bad I was as a listener.
If you’ve been through the mirroring exercises that most relationship counselors teach, then you know what I’m talking about. Your partner tells you, “I feel like you don’t understand me.” You mirror back, “So what you’re saying is, you feel like I don’t understand you?” And it goes on something like that. One person shares, the other person listens and mirrors back the content.
The point is this. You’re just listening. You’re not preparing your argument. You’re not getting ready for your next quip. You’re not carrying on a dialogue in your imagination. You’re simply listening.
So what are we doing when we’re listening to music and we think it sucks? We all do it. We all know certain musicians that we can’t listen to without cringing. But what if you could? Well, your values would have to change. You would have to value curiosity above censure. You would have to value interest over bias.
And I guess I would have to value acceptance of my friend’s opinions over my own spurning. So there’s multiple levels… but I’m still right. 😉