Are you listening to music the way you should? A beginners guide to music listening.
Tip 1: Sound Quality!
Make sure you get a good quality audio and some good speakers. Any good quality headphones or good sounding speakers will do. If possible try to avoid Youtube. Why not Youtube? Their compression of the video and audio damages the quality of the song. Try and get lossless files (FLAC or WAV) of the audio you pretend to listen to. I personally recommend FLAC as WAV will be a huge file. Sit comfortably and make sure nobody will bug you.
Tip 2: Segregation!
In order to enjoy the music at its fullest one must segregate everything that is happening in the music. For this i suggest some non-electronic music of a 4 or 5 piece band you already know the formation so you now what different sounds you might get. Note that in most recordings a lot of stuff might be recorded in to it so you’ll probably hear more than just 4 or 5 instruments but thats another story. Try and isolate one instrument and focus on what it does during the hole song. Do this for all instruments as each instrument and musician have their unique attributes. After you can hear the whole song again without any particular focus. There is no need to do this consecutively, it can be done with days or even months of interval.
Tip 3: Structure!
After doing a close caption on all instruments you can now zoom out and analyze what binds them all together – Song Structure. In musical lingo the song structure can be divided by A B or C and sometimes D (but thats more rare) and at the same time by Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Intro etc.. ABC is mostly used in Jazz as Verse-Chorus are more lyrical terms however both can co-exist. For instance in Pop music most songs are AABA they start out with a Verse then Chorus then second Verse, second Chorus a Bridge (the part that sounds like something is different) and back to chorus until the end. In this particular case Verse and Chorus can be considered A and because they repeat themselves will be AA the Bridge which is not a Verse or a Chorus will be called B thus comes the chorus which we already know belongs to A and there you have it AABA. Try to find it in your music and share your thoughts.
Tip 4: Listen up for the details!
With all this added information don’t forget to save some space for the juicy details. A lot of records will have this coming-out-of-nowhere filling sounds that are mostly on the background but not less important. They come to fill up the space, to add more texture and consistency to the sound and to harmonize the melody creating changes into the song.
I sincerely hope these tips helped you have a better appreciation for music and feel free to share your experiences.