Listening to music – with professional ears. A study of orchestral musicians’ ways of listening
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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- Artikler og bokkapitler 
Original versionI: Aural perspectives. On musical learning and practice in higher music education, s. 53-73
The training of listening skills in higher music education is a central part of the aural training discipline, often called aural analysis or structural hearing. Listening here refers to active, conscious attention paid to the music and its elements through the combination of perceptual and cognitive skills, and understanding. Theories about listening suggest various categories and types of listeners and of listening, mainly along the analytical-emotional spectrum. How do professional musicians react when actively listening to music? What is typical in their ways of listening? What are the links between listening and academic aural analysis? In this study, I interviewed eight professional musicians, seven orchestral musicians and one orchestral conductor, focusing on their ways of listening to music and how this might be related to their profession. As a starting point for the interview, an excerpt from an orchestral piece unknown to the participants was played, which evoked a great variety of reactions, both emotional and analytical. The most typical and dominant way of listening was critical listening, a professional way of listening, valuing the quality of the performance and the performers’ ability. Academic aural training listening was also evident, but to a smaller degree. They also reported that the frequency of their deliberate music listening was strongly reduced, both in live concerts and listening without any purpose, and the importance of silence was strongly emphasized. Keywords: expert listener, analytical-, emotional- and critical listening, valuing, aural training, aural analysis
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