There has never been a more important time for musicians to develop their sense of purpose and possibilities in society. Music and the arts have such potential to make a huge difference in the world. At the same time, as the music profession continues to change, life can feel unpredictable and confusing even as exciting opportunities open up. Developing a sense of purpose, artistic and professional identity, and being able to evolve these throughout a career, seems increasingly
important for all musicians. In what ways can we prepare for and support this process?
This ICON seminar will explore different ways of addressing this question. Within them, a particular focus will be on the skills and processes of “listening”. The ability to listen deeply is not only essential to us as performers, but also to finding new ways to connect as artists in society, and of course to teaching as we respond to our students as human beings. Listening, for example, is central to the practices of mentoring and coaching and to the Critical Response Process, with which we have worked in previous seminars. In all these contexts, listening may then also imply responding, a process of dialogue, exchange, give and take. So for this seminar we will engage with questions such as:
- In what ways can we develop our listening skills, as musicians and as human beings? How may our sense of purpose (artistic, personal, professional), our knowledge and experience, and our value systems and life stories influence our listening and our response to what we hear?
- How may our listening skills in one domain complement them in other domains, or even be translatable? We bring our whole selves to our work as musicians – body, mind and spirit. How can we listen in each of these domains and how can we respond? How can we use our physical selves to listen to and through the body to enrich our playing, performance and ways in which we engage with an audience?
- How can we develop listening skills that open up creativity, artistically, in learning and in developing our professional practice in the world?
- How can we develop listening skills with students: in their individual practice; in their work with other musicians/peers/teachers; in going out into society?
The seminar will be appropriate for anyone teaching music in higher education, who is interested in exploring the power of listening and the ways it may contribute to the work of artists in society.