Have we lost the art of listening to music?

I recently read an article that Alan Cross linked to that was published in The Guardian on Tuesday, May 9th. Kate Hennessey’s article was entitled “In full, on vinyl, no talking: have we lost the art of listening to music?” You should read it. It was very good.

I was absolutely blown away when I read about a venue hosting events where music fans gathered to listen intently to recorded music like it was something groundbreaking. These so called music fans were actually willing to pay money to sit quietly while they listened to an album in its entirety. Would they consider doing this if the same artist was in front of them performing live? In my experience, they wouldn’t.

If such events have any traction beyond ‘trend’ status, should we not be trying to promote the act of listening intently to an artist actually performing live? Or does such an act lack the irony that a certain demographic finds necessary in order to justify their participation?

I love experiencing live music. I don’t get out as often as I’d like, but when I’ve made a conscious decision to see a band or solo act perform live I want to actually hear them perform. My biggest pet peeve is people that talk during a show that I’ve invested time and money to see. Since when are musicians less worthy of our undivided attention than other performing arts? Would you talk or take a phone call during a ballet, contemporary art performance or while an author is reading from their latest work? I highly doubt it.

If the popularity of these ‘listening’ events is indeed on the rise, why the heck can’t fans gather together to actually listen to a musician perform live? Perhaps live music just isn’t cool enough.

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One thought on “Have we lost the art of listening to music?

  1. There is resto here in Ottawa that has a vinyl club once a month that does what you describe. They take a break between sides to discuss and order drinks. I’ve never been but I’ve always been curious. Oh and I share your pet peeve for talkers during sets.

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