Sunday, April 12, 2015

How Deep Listening creates beautiful harmony anytime & with anyone.

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.


  1. Deep listening to me is really understanding the sound and lyrics encompassed in a song and picturing and relating the music to your life but also understanding the perspective of the artist. I listen to EDM music and a lot of people say it's not real music but that couldn't be further from the truth. Just like any genre of music, you will always have face level artist that can't seem to touch on truth and the things that really speak to you but in the end it may effect someone else differently. One of my favorite EDM artist made an acoustic version of some of his songs anyone who listened to this could fall in love instantly, not only with the lyrics but also the melodic picking on the guitar. This can be an example of how one can judge a song but then hear it a different way and love it. listening in conversations is really opening your heart and finding understanding in things that you may not relate to. We have all had a different path, we are all individuals after all. So putting your judgments and experience aside really try to find understanding in the others words. Music is everything to me and I love all different types because they all speak to me differently. I have had song that make me cry, a lot that make me want to dance and ones that make me fall in love over and over again. So close your eyes, open your hearts and dive in. :)

    1. Thanks Tiffany for sharing! I think you're not alone in how music and how in general when we allow ourselves to open and truly listen, we move from separation to connection. Whether it's connecting with music or another person. As we can all attest, when we feel separate, we suffer, but when we feel connected, we experience joy, security and peace. So keep listening and keep deepening the connections!