Nathan Fillion on the joys of reading.
Our thanks to fellow book lovers at Feiwel & Friends for sharing such a great quote. Bonus points that the great quote is from Nathan Fillion!
Recently, my friend Andrew Dubber asked me if I would contribute to an ebook of advice for people entering the music business. It’s called The 360 Deal and it’s full of short pieces from people from all aspects of the music world. Here’s how Andrew describes them:
“Rock star or professor, DJ or classical violinist, record label exec or community music worker - here’s a group of people who have been where you’re at in one way or another, they know a bit about what lies ahead, and they have useful knowledge to share.”
The short essay below is what I contributed to the project.
Learning to Listen
Stop what you’re doing right now. Go to your phone, your turntable, your mp3 player. Put some music on and close your eyes. If you have a proper set of headphones, even better. Let the music fill your head and sit perfectly still for the whole song. Savour it and let it make a space inside you. Don’t let anything else in but the music.
Are you back? Now try to remember the last time you let your sense of hearing take over and pushed your other senses into the background. How long has it been since you really listened to music — let it resonate inside you — instead of treating it as sonic wallpaper while your active mind worked on other tasks?
In the era of too many links on too many social networks and too many bits of media competing for our attention, we need to re-learn listening. If you want to learn to write, you must first be a great reader. Likewise, if you want to work in music — as a musician, as a producer, as a promoter, as a critic — you must also be a great listener. Give sound the primacy it deserves and don’t force it to compete for your attention in this always-on, multi-tasking world.
It’s also important that you don’t just listen this way to the music you already love, but that you expand your experiences with music you don’t love. Be promiscuous in your listening. Approach listening like you would approach practicing an instrument. Learn the syntax and build a lexicon for what sets your heart on fire, for what makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and what sets your teeth on edge.
By giving your full focus to different styles and genres of music, you’ll start to appreciate them for what they are and you’ll become more articulate about what you like or don’t like. Listen deeply and rediscover what matters in music. Great listeners are passionate about what they hear. And you must be passionate if the work you do is going to matter.
“The machine that thinks like a man” at the London Science Museum.
Here’s my list of 20 of my favorite albums from 2012. They aren’t in any particular order. I also made a Spotify sampler of two or three of my favorite tracks from each one.
Diamonds & Gold - Firewater
(Tom Waits cover)
Get more covers from Raindogs here: