Hey there, unsuspecting magazine reader. First off, I’d like to congratulate you on getting your hands on the first issue of Modules Magazine. Here’s to a beautiful and loyal reading experience. On our side, as well as yours. Welcome to the Modules Family.
So, let’s kick off the first issue with something clearly quite close to our hearts: music—listening to it in particular. Apart from being able to listen to other genres, artists that you might not have listened to before or that album you've had lying around for so long just waiting for you to put it on, I've noticed - at least in my experience - that most people don't listen to as much music as they are really capable of.
Is there something wrong with not listening to a lot of music? Not at all. But, why be content with less when you can have more, eh?
How do you go about achieving this, you ask? Well, one of the easiest ways of doing so is to listen to music just outside your current comfort zone. A major way that I have naturally been exposed to music outside my own comfort zone is hanging around friends because I just happen to listen to music that is not the same kind. For lack of a better one, most people just use the word genre. Now this isn't quite the manner I would recommend listening to new music in. Why? Because it scares the cultural shit out of you. See, the idea is to expose yourself to music, just on the edge of your comfort zone. Not too deep inside, not all the way out there. Juuust right. If you, say, start listening to a certain artist you already listen to their contemporaries or predecessors, a group that may be featured the same Singer, DJ, Guitarist, Drummer, Music Producer or whatever as a presently familiar ones or another artist from a closely related genre, you're well on your way to becoming a well-rounded music listener.
Now that we've taken care of what new material you should listen to, let's talk about how you should listen to that shiny new stuff. At this stage, I'd like to introduce 2 ways to cut the cake: Passive Listening and Active Listening.
With the former, you want to just slap whatever you want to listen to onto your favourite playback device - your cheap iPod knockoff to your house mortgage-worth expensive sound system with audiophile grade headphones, anything will do - and let it rip. Put stuff on in the background and just do whatever the hell you want while you listen to it. Have a go on the treadmill, do some knitting, drive or be driven to work or school, do some more knitting, sit out in the park and stare at the clouds, works best with death metal and dubstep by the way, or better yet, do some more knitting. Do not pay attention to what you hear. This is passive listening. Humans are sponges, see and this is how we learn stuff. Some time along this journey that they call life, people lose this ability to stick like magnets to whatever they come across. But that needn't always be the case - hey, you were a sponge before, what's stopping you from growing back into one? With just a teensy push in the right direction, you'll regain this marvellous, sponge-like ability to listen to and like - genuinely appreciate novel forms of not just music, but life experiences (because hey, that's what music really is, isn't it? Its an experience. Like I said about genres, this is a topic for a whole other article.)
Now, coming back to the point about sponges, its my belief that when things are on in the background and we experience them in the back of our minds repeatedly, we don't just learn stuff, we slurp it (Yes, its a word. No, don't look it up - I just came up with it. Cool right?) That's how we learn to talk as babies, how we magically turn out remarkably similar in personality traits to our parents, how some musicians are capable of turning out so damn awesome and it’s how we get exposed to music. Our brain just gets it. Passive Listening. This is what you do first. This gets you used to the music.
The latter is what you do when you've done enough of the former and your brain has sufficiently slurped the music. After the song has been engraved into your very brain, you proceed on to getting to listen to the music with childlike wonder, awe, attention and concentration. Ever seen a kid? 'Course you have. Ever wanted to be one? 'Course you have. Well, here's your chance. Be a kid. Enjoy the music. But, do so thoroughly. Listen to that wailing guitar solo, be blown away by that bassline, groove to that funky beat, hear - no, feel those dynamics! How can someone not enjoy music? Notice small nuances by opening yourself up to the music. Don't force it, but try to analyse the music a little. Like, think about it a little.
Generally speaking, the two processes are carried out in the order mentioned above but you don't have to do it the way described above. Just go with it. Besides, music is a personal experience and it should be enjoyed that way. Don't let anyone ever tell you what to listen to or how to listen to music. Not even this article. That said, do take people's advice and suggestions into consideration. Humour them. You might get something good out of it. Just take care to apply your own BS filter to it.
By far the most important notion to keep in mind is that of having an open and accepting attitude towards things: no matter how sick, weird or out of tune things might sound at first, give it a shot, see how it goes and take it from there. This, is as much a secret to music as it is to life.
As stated earlier, AL and PL don't have to be done separately or even in the same order - most people don't do that anyway - but it might be beneficial to give it a shot.
When in doubt, it helps to keep in mind that:
Passive listening is for the brain.
Active Listening is for the Heart.
Music is for the soul.
Enjoy the rest of the Magazine.
Have fun and happy listening.
I've been Aranya Khurana, and if you've managed to reach the end of this article, you've been a great reader.