Make music but never listen to it?

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  • #20961 Reply

    I’m wondering if im alone in this, so thought i would reach out to other musicans and composers for thier opinions.

    Music is work. This is an assoiation in my mind that is hard to breakdown. Everytime i watch TV I cannot switch off from noticing / analyzing the background music that may be playing. It’s a constant!!

    Same with movies and even music on my phone / mp3 player. I constantly skip tracks and very very rarley put an ablum or music on for the sheer enjoyment of listening to it.

    The only time i will listen to music is when checking my own mixes or rough work to hear those areas where i can improve or work out a different direction for the track. Listening outside the studio in a different place and time is crucial to me.

    Even live music.I went to see a band recently and my friends asked why i wasn’t into it. On the contrary, i was lisetning and watching intently for every thing. Every flourish from the drummer or lick from the guitarist. i guess i just see music differently to those who dont have the perspective of a creator.

    I would be interested to hear other creative minded peoples views on this.


    #20962 Reply
    Art Munson

    @Soph. YES! You are talking about us!

    I switched off from listening, as enjoyment, after I opened my recording studio back in the 80s. Listening to music after engineering for hours in the studio every day was not possible. I just wanted peace and quiet! But even before then I was always analyzing every aspect of music. To this day anything we (Robin and I) watch, with music, is being analyzed. It does not mean I don’t enjoy today’s music. I find lots to like in it but listening for enjoyment is not one of them. The only music I can listen to on an extended basis is older Jazz or Classical.

    #20968 Reply

    Iยดve been through such a period myself. Even if my main income still is giging and touring with bands, and playing music that is actually ment for listening purpose. There has just been to much music in my work life to be able to enjoy music by others the way I used to do.

    Luckily this is slowly changing right now, and I do find more time to enjoy music. I gig less and go to see live concerts more often. I recently went to see a concert by the amazing Ryan Adams, and it was one of the most beautiful live experiences I have ever had.

    I dont have any good explanation on why this has changed for me, so I can`t really give you any advice. Bu at least you are not alone to go through such periods, and I think it is not that uncommon among busy musicians. Maybe it will change for you too someday… ๐Ÿ™‚

    #20969 Reply
    Art Munson

    I heard a quote from a well known composer (I don’t remember who) about how a composer is always composing.

    When I hear music I like, I start thinking about how I could do something like that. Even something I don’t particularly like might have a chord change or other technique that I might want to imitate. I think anyone engaged in a creative pursuit is perpetually on the lookout for ideas, wherever they might be. There’s no “off” switch.

    #20975 Reply

    @Soph…there is music that is work and music that isn’t.

    I used to be that way. But, now I find that the analyze switch only gets turned on if I find the music interesting, innovative or really well written. To be honest, that happens less and less often.

    If it’s something very well written, especially music by Alexndre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Jeff Beal (House of Cards, Jesse Stone, Monk), yes. That music reminds me of how much I love music.

    When I listen to most library cues or reality TV cues, no. That is “work” music. I listen the way an editor or music supervisor listens. I get about 20 to 30 seconds in, if that, and move on, unless something about the production or sound immediately strikes me ask unique.

    I recently went to see a concert by the amazing Ryan Adams, and it was one of the most beautiful live experiences I have ever had.

    Probably because it was music that was meant to be listened to, not 15 seconds of generic sound in the background on “Keeping up With the Kardashians.”

    #20977 Reply
    Art Munson

    If it’s something very well written, especially music by Alexndre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Jeff Beal (House of Cards, Jesse Stone, Monk), yes. That music reminds me of how much I love music.

    A BIG +1 on that MichaelL!

    #20978 Reply

    I noticed that listening to music for fun turned to more of a dissection of the song structure. But several years ago I began to notice a shift to listening more to the production techniques of the music.

    #20979 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    Maybe I’m lucky. I can simply listen to and enjoy music. I only turn on the “production critic ear” as needed. The exception is when I hear presets on tv and in games! ๐Ÿ˜›

    #20980 Reply

    I come across bands or genres that I can’t get out of my head until I try to write something in that style or genre. FOr a little while now that has meant ambient rock/pop music, and am currently stuck on stuff like Hammock , American Dollar, Album Leaf, Explosions In The Sky. Really working at beefing up my knowledge of synthesis/synthesizers and trying to pump up my skills so I’m not just using the ones I have as banks of patches. I do have a a day job, but am finding myself listening to music less and less during my daily drives (about 2-4 hours a day)and when I do it is to study or for inspiration. But I can still listen and enjoy it. Even the newer pop stuff.

    #20981 Reply

    I’m still enjoying listening to music just for pleasure and i like a lot going to concerts,went to a Mark Lanegan concert 2 days ago and had a great time.
    Maybe i don’t listen to as much music as when i was 18 (i’m 35 now) but i’m still enjoying listening to fresh artists,new albums etc.
    I still refresh my “car’s music collection” once in a month and,like Rob said,i only turn the “production critic ear” as needed.
    I hope i’ll keep listening to music as a music fan but also keep training the “composer’s/producer’s ear”.

    #20984 Reply

    It’s funny because I am the same way, and had the same type of thought like “man, do I even enjoy music anymore” because it does seem way more like work then it used to. The way I can tell I REALLY like something is that I don’t sit there and pick it apart, and can just listen to it. At the same time I appreciate the process a lot more, and I will listen to a great song and go wow that mix is amazing, instead of going wow listen to that guitar. There is curtain musicians, Hendrix in particular, where I never tried to learn a majority of his music. Mainly because I wanted to keep that magic of not knowing what he’s doing, and just pop in an album and go for a ride. I’ve been working really hard at keeping things separated in my head of like here is music I like to play for fun or album music, and this is work music. It has really helped keep things fresh and reminds me of why I wanted to do this type of work to begin with.

    #20985 Reply
    Steve Ballard

    @Soph, You are far from alone in this. I believe it’s that as individuals we do it a little bit differently. I could quote several sentences from most of the posts here as to the way that I do some of the very same things.

    #20988 Reply

    @Chuck Mott

    I do have a a day job, but am finding myself listening to music less and less during my daily drives (about 2-4 hours a day)and when I do it is to study or for inspiration.

    Exactly the same situation with me, except that my weekday drive is about 1.5 to 2 hours.

    I completely agree that a composer is always composing. There are times when I have to focus on turning that side of me off as it can sometimes be very distracting, especially while driving.

    At a live show, I find that it has always been impossible for me to turn it off. Everything from song structure, performance, mix, stage presence, crowd reaction, sound system, lighting – everything. There is so much information coming my way that I feel like I have to “catch” which leaves me with no time to purely enjoy what I’m witnessing.

    #20990 Reply

    All of which begs the question: what do you really want music to be in your life, something that you love or work?

    This is the paradox of our profession, or avocation in some cases. We are attracted to doing this at first because we love music, and want to make music. Then, what we have to do in order to succeed in the business often deadens or extinguishes that passion altogether.

    …..unless, of course, you are among the fortunate few whose passion, skill and aesthetics all line up with what the industry wants…at the moment. If that’s the case enjoy the moment, because it will change.

    #21016 Reply

    Wow, that’s a cool question… I also question myself about that.

    Actually, I realize that when I am in a heavy studio work period, I will tend to go easy on the music I listen to, or more precisely, listen to genres I do not usually compose.

    When I am in a period where studio work is slim, then, I will listen to music much more. I will have music of all kinds running in the background 80% of the time. That’s probably during that period that subconsciously, a new batch of tracks will find seeds for inspiration. In can be very enriching to listen to Radios passing all kinds of music that are usually not mainstream yet pretty cool, often Indie, and also foreign national chart musics not distributed worldwide.

    The thing is that I have tinnitus + Hyperaccousy, so I cannot really live in silence. I need music all the time, even at low level, to cover the internal squeaking. It is a pain sometimes, yet it is also an opportunity to discover many styles and explore new horizons on a continuous basis, expanding my knowledge of music which I inject in my own works.

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