I’ve been realizing that my primary occupation is not “artist/musician” but instead, “listener.”
When I teach, I merely listen and repeat back to the student what I heard.
When I practice, I listen. To the room, to my sound, to the line, to the composer.
When I rehearse, I listen to the my colleagues.
Every part of my life is listening. Or rather, I should say, an opportunity to listen. Because whenever there is an opportunity to listen there is also an opportunity to simply hear. And to only hear implies not allowing the process to change you.
Anytime a person listens well, I think, that the listening should be echoed, recapitulated into their own words. Because listening itself is a generous act, and reiterating a generous act is an opportunity to spread the love.
Listening is deeply personal. It requires a questioning of your own assumptions. I think good listening means that you are continuously asking, “could I be wrong?” if the subject material is different than what you believe.
Listening, as a musician, feels vulnerable. It feels like a trust-fall to listen to someone play live music, like a private contract that they’re going to take you somewhere but ultimately it will be fine.
Listening is immersing yourself in someone’s world so much so that begins to change you.