Listening deeply, in a discerning, and qualitative way is key to our work as musicians and communicators. All of these exercises can easily be done in everyday life. You have everything you need.
Three minutes a day of silence is excellent to re-set your ears, and recalibrate. If you can’t get total silence, go for relatively quiet.
2. The Mixer
In a noisy environment, listen for how many channels of sound you can hear. In a coffee bar, how many individual channels in that mix am I listening to? (The steamer of the espresso machine, the conversation at the table behind you, the traffic outside…)
You can do this in a beautiful natural environment as well. How many birds am I hearing? Where are they? Can I hear the sound of water? Wind rustling though the leaves?
3. RASA (an acronymn, also the Sanskrit word for “juice” or “essence”)
Receive: Pay conscious attention to who or what you’re listening to
Appreciate: Notice sound qualities and make little noises indicating understanding
Summarize: Treasure notes the importance of the word “So…” in conversation
Ask: Ask questions afterward