“Learning to Listen”

Even though you may not write music reviews for publication, you can always learn to listen to music more closely. Each month, I’ll give you something else to think about when you hear music. You may end up realizing why your favorite song sparks something in you, or you might even learn to appreciate something about a song you didn’t really like much before.


This month, focus on the melody. Is it a tune you can sing easily, or is it hard to jump from one note to the other? Can you hum the tune when you’re doing dishes or working in the yard? Can you sing it in the shower? For a melody to be good, regular folks should be able to sing it. The point of the song is not to show off the recording artist, with super high or really low notes, but to make it fun to sing along with. A good country anthem gets people shouting on a dance floor, or “hooting and hollering” as we say in Texas. Think about “Friends in Low Places” or even “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” and you’ll see what I mean. You start smiling just thinking about singing along.


Good melodies can also be sweet and loving, or soft and sad. Think about some slower songs like “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” or “Walking After Midnight.” Just because your toes aren’t tapping, you still sing along to songs you grew up listening to (on the oldies station). And what made them classics? The melody!


So next time you’re singing along to your favorite song, think about the tune. Do the notes follow along naturally, or is it hard to hit the high note? If you were humming it in front of someone, would that person recognize the tune, or does it sound too much like another song?


Learning to listen will make you a better music fan, or maybe just make you a fan of better music.


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