How do you listen to music? Find out at the Listening Club.

By William Norris, Managing Director

The Listening Club

At the end of last season we tried out something new – a ‘listening club’. The idea was to have something a little akin to a book club – a chance to delve into an aspect of our repertoire and explore it more, guided by the BBC’s Dr. Hannah French and, in this first instance, Choir Director Ivars Taurins. As with a book club there was some homework to be done beforehand – some set listening, with the session exploring the pieces and recordings that had been set.

With that trial session under our belt we’re now ready to embark on a series of three listening club events over the coming year. The first one, on October 5th, actually responds to a question that arose in that very first session: How do we listen to music?

For this first session of the season Dr. Hannah French will return and be joined by Tafelmusik Bassoonist Dominic Teresi. During the 90 minute event Hannah will be posing four questions:

1) Why, when and how do you listen to music?

We’ll be asking whether you engage in passive and/or active listening, as well as talking about listening habits – live concerts, radio and so on. For this first question we’ll be asking you to listen to a work from this season, but not setting a specific recording – it’ll be intriguing to see what everyone chooses.

2) How do you choose the recordings you listen to?

What factors decide this for you – price? Availability? Simply the first thing you find on YouTube or Spotify? And are reviews helpful?

3) Can you describe what you like about your favourite recordings?

We’ll be looking at what informs your choices and ask what makes a ‘good’ performance.

4) Would you ever listen with a score?

What might this add to your listening experience? And, fear not, for this section you don’t need to be able to read music!

While the session is led and guided by Hannah, we want it to be an informal and interactive affair. Ask all the questions you want – there are no wrong answers or indeed, wrong questions. The more debate and discussion the better.

Our first session was a lot of fun, and it was great (I found) to really dive into the music rather than just let it wash over you, something which I must admit I often do, especially when listening at home.

Tickets are just $25 (and you can buy them here) and you’ll be sent the set listening ahead of the event. And if you like this one don’t forget we’ll have two more later in the season – the next looks at the battle for good taste between French and Italian Baroque Music while the last looks at the blurred boundaries between baroque and classical eras.

We’ll look forward to listening with you on October 5th!

Join us for the Listening Club, October 5th. Tickets are available here.

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