Listening to the entire ensemble

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by geoffkhan, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. I've been working a lot lately on the concept of listening to the entire ensemble while you're playing instead of just yourself--but listening to the entire ensemble as if you were just a listener and not actually playing in the ensemble.

    My quest started when I noticed on recordings of myself that my rhythm was off in some places when in the moment it was not obvious to me. As a listener I find I have much better, more critical ears.

    Lately I've made a breakthrough (for me, at least). Do you know how sometimes if you're playing something easy and repetitive you will suddenly "drift off" and be thinking about other things or even watching your hands play all by themselves? That's the moment you utilize. You get into that state, but you keep focusing on the music.

    Anyway, it works amazingly for me. Comments, ideas and suggestions would be very much appreciated!
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, that's the state where music feels best to the player. Takes a lot of work to get to that point, though. Repetition is the key, as you've recently discovered.

    As for listening to everyone else, I don't see how you can play music and not listen to everyone else. I've never understood the ability so many players have to completely tune everyone else out.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    IMO, you're not really playing music unless you're listening actively across the band. There are some great players who just listen to what they're doing, but I don't think there's one great musician who does that.
  4. Yup, read that. Good book!

    I've always listened to the entire band when I'm playing, but a lot of my listening focus was on what I'm playing. So in my mind, getting to the state as if you are not the performer but the listener is the key. Of course, you need to be very familiar and comfortable with the music before you can do this.