There is a common misconception that “things” can be boring. You may find doing your taxes boring. But some people find it riveting. Therefore, we can’t say that doing taxes is boring. “It” is not boring. Then what part of that sentence or thought is boring? It is the person doing the thinking that is boring.
The misconception lies in the implied cause and effect pattern that an activity can “make” another person respond in a certain way. It is also a pattern of universal generalization. It’s sloppy thinking brought on by sloppy language.
Life is never boring, but some people choose to be bored.
The reason I bring this up is because of the large amount of musicians who tell me that practicing is boring. Or ear training is boring. Or listening is boring. No, my friend, you are boring because you are looking at things in a boring way.
Curious people are seldom bored. Conversely, boring people are seldom curious.
-The Wizard of Ads
How exactly does practicing cause you to be bored? You are choosing this response when you train your ear. Would you like another choice?
The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.
If you want to be the best, don’t you think you should learn how to make practicing fun? Do you actually believe that it’s possible to become a great musician without practice? Or do you believe the research that suggests practice makes perfect.
Only those who want everything done for them are bored.
I challenge you to look at your musical future in a new light. Would you like practicing to be something you look forward to? How can you be the kind of person who enjoys to ear train? How can you find joy in the simple act of listening?
The concept of boredom entails an inability to use up present moments in a personally fulfilling way.
You’ve got two choices. You can stop practicing and stop developing. Or you can continue to practice and continue to develop. Which will you choose?
When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.
Shlomo Farber says
I like the approach but I do like more practical advice about making things interesting.
Graham English says
Let’s see if I can come up with 10 practical techniques off the top of my head:
1. Notice things you haven’t noticed before.
2. Listen without judgement.
3. Subtract things from your awareness. Pay attention to the detail of one single sound.
4. Analyze the spectrum of sound.
5. Listen to something extreme. Loud noise, extremely quiet sounds, high pitched, low pitched, etc.
6. Emphasize the flaws.
7. Listen for style.
8. Remember a sound from the past.
9. Imagine a sound from the future.
10. Notice how your mind affects what you hear and the way you listen.
That should get your creativity flowing. 🙂