How To Listen To Music In The Most Productive Way

By Matti Carter

Normally we view listening to music as an enjoyable event, where we can relax ourselves and let the music take us into a different world. Yes, that is a great way to listen to music, and we all love to do it. However, you can achieve a lot more by listening to music.

Have you ever thought about changing your approach by trying to make the listening experiences as productive as possible? Listening to music can be a lot more than an enjoyable experience. It can also be a great learning experience. It can actually take your musical skills to a whole new level. Next time you listen to music, I recommend trying out some of the following things:

1. Analyse The Music You Are Listening To

If you want to learn more about music, you can start by trying to analyse the structures of the songs you are listening to. Take a piece of paper and a pen, and write down the structures of the songs while you listen to them. See if you can identify similarities in the structures of music in different genres.

2. Follow The Sheet Music While Listening To Music

If you can find the sheet music for what you are listening to, try to follow it while listening to it. This will improve your ability to read sheet music. While following the music, you could also make notes to yourself about whatever interests you in the music.

3. Try To Play Along With The Music On Your Instrument

This is a great exercise to improve your ear. Try playing along to the melody of the music you are listening to. If that is too hard for you, you can just search for chords that go well with the music. You could also just try and clap the rhythm along with the music, if you don’t have your instrument near you.

4. Focus On Listening To Individual Parts In The Music

This is another great exercise to improve your ear. If there are many instruments playing the music, try to focus on listening to only one of the musical elements at a time. It could be the melody, the bass line, the vocals, the drums or the chords. Try to make out what each instrument is playing.

5. Write Down The Music That You Hear

This is probably the hardest, but also the best way to improve your ear. If you are advanced enough, you will be able to write down the melody or harmony of almost any song you listen to. As a beginner, start from simple songs and see how long it takes to find the melody. You can use your instrument as a tool to help you, or you could make it harder by working without your instrument.

Doing all the above exercises will improve you as a musician. The biggest benefit you get out of them is developing your ear to a whole new level. Next, try to think of more things you can do while listening to music to make your time as productive as possible!

© Matti Carter 2018

About The Author:

Matti Carter is a professional musician based in Tampere, Finland. He teaches piano, composes music and writes instructional articles. If you are interested in taking piano lessons, feel free to contact him.