Monday, October 19, 2009

Learn How to "Speed Listen" in a Few Easy Steps!

Most of you have heard of speed reading That's where people skip and skim through the written word to get to the "gist" of the material. But did you know you can also learn how to speed listen? That's right!

You see, the key to speed reading is reading "for something." That's it. That's the entire key and once you understand this, you'll understand how people can literally flip pages of a book and seem like they're covering vast territories. Yet all they are doing is searching for information they want.

For example, let's say you have a non-fiction title you want to speed read. How to do it? First, before anything, you ask yourself "what information am I looking for?" By asking yourself this, you bypass "read mode" and instead go into "search mode." Of course, it helps to skim the table of contents first, but after that, you can find the info you need fast because you know what you're looking for.

We can also apply this concept to listening to music. For example, let's say you're listening to a Mozart piano sonata and want to know what's going on. How do you do this? Easy. You listen "for" something. In this case it might be he harmony, form, how he uses dynamics, etc. Do you see how this can help you? By deciding what to listen for before hand, you become a search engine ... literally listening and waiting to hear what you've decided to learn.

Let's take a concrete example. In my YouTube video "Piano Therapy" we have a short piece of music lasting a few minutes or so. Now, suppose you want to know what the form of this piece of music is. How can you quickly determine this? Easy. By listening for the form.

To do this, you must pay attention to how the composer uses the tools of repetition and contrast to construct his music. In this case, the form of the music is a simple ABA. You can go further. You can listen for the arrangement of the piece or how many times the composer repeats certain sections. If you want, you can take pen and paper and write it out as you listen. I used to do this to discover how music I liked was constructed.

You can listen for introductions, transitions, modulations ... pretty much anything you want to learn. The key here is to determine what it is you're listening for and then do it.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson!

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