Hi All, Pete here again....
Sometimes things are so close we don’t recognize them for what they are. For me, that happens when Anne and I are singing in harmony. I rarely think about the mechanics of harmony singing; the pitch, the phrasing, the subtleties of pronunciation and so forth.
I do experience something more attune to a picture in my mind of where our voices are moving together and the effect and influence it has in that moment, in that setting for that particular song. Honestly, I’m amazed at how it seems to happen by itself sometimes! And yet, I’m always keenly aware of how this is only possible when we both are in a state of deep listening.
I’ve come to explain this occurrence as Deep Listening. In my life I explain it as a state of Being, a kind of heightened awareness dedicated solely for that moment in time. In workshops and in retreats I tell participants that it’s as if you’re listening with your entire body. You feel the sounds and the space around you so fully that the listening becomes something of a physical act. Thoughts usually slow down or sometimes they stop completely, yet you’re very alert and responsive to the person or situation at hand.
It can be fascinating when you bring this Deep Listening into practice with music, you’re more aware of the subtle qualities music can take on. This is the reason why music can help you feel better, happy or sad, contemplative or whatever. You can actually “feel” the music and it brings on a certain “feeling” in us. Maybe that’s why I’ve had so many people tell me the banjo just makes them feel happy yet they don’t know why. Or when people tell us that our harmony singing makes them feel calm.
Anytime we’re interacting with another person, we’re creating a certain harmony, whether we’re singing or not. There’s two of us and we’re bringing our story, our song, our voice to that moment. We are all capable of bringing a certain quality to each interaction. Do we sing in a complimentary harmony or are we competing for the soundscape? Do we bring Deep Listening or is there so much going on in our own heads we can’t hear or feel the other person?
I try to bring Deep Listening into every conversation and interaction I can. Sometimes it comes in easily, like singing with Anne, and with deep satisfaction and other times, not so much ;-) But hey, I’ve been singing harmony with Anne for 20 years and I’m still learning how my voice can sing!
Let me know how you experience Deep Listening and how easily or not you can bring it into your everyday conversations.