In our survey, we asked Band Directors Talk Shop readers “What is the best phrase, analogy or activity you’ve ever heard/used regarding the teaching of focused listing?” With many great responses, here is the list of very helpful quotes and practices for focused listening.
Listen louder than you play
Listening and matching to your “trio”
Listen across the band and pick someone to listen to
Listen across the band and lock into similar sounds
Listen more than you play
Listen with your bones
Listen for the chainsaw
Intense/active listening, not passive listening
You must be silent in order to listen
Evaporate your sound with the person sitting next to you.
Focus on the inside.
If you can’t hear your neighbor, you are playing too loud.
Good tone enhances one’s ability to blend.
Deer ears and monkey brains. Deer can hear 360 degrees around them, and monkey brains are constantly thinking and readjusting.
Practice time is for learning your part; rehearsal time is for learning everyone else’s part.
Listen to the lights. Gets them quiet every time.
It’s like your mother saying “take out the garbage.” When she asks the third time, her tone of voice and adjectives change. You have to listen before she adds those adjectives to make her happy. Music is like that. Listen closely right away to know your role in the music.
SQUILT (super quiet uninterrupted listening)
SHMRF: S-Sound, H-Harmony, M-Melody, R-Rhythm, F-Form
Activity: Asking students to listen specifically for a line in the music, harmonic progression, etc. Then describe what they’ve heard and why I brought it to their attention.
Memorize sections of music
Take your face out of the written music and open up your ears to hear the balance and intonation with your band members.
Memorization of music sections can help open up the ears for fixing balance, intonation, phrasing, and nuance.
Listening diamonds – Students listen in front, side to side, and behind them to blend their sound into the ensemble
Singing and humming concert F. We use this to tune and focus tone.
Insisting on “starting from silence.” Wait for the students to get so quiet they’re listening to the humming of the lights or the blower of the heating system. We like to let the silence get almost painfully awkward.
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