In your work as a teacher, how often do you come into contact with music? Maybe you are a music specialist, in which case the answer might be ‘all the time’. Perhaps you work in dance or drama and see music as integral to your work there. You might incorporate songs within your teaching to help students better understand another subject altogether. Or perhaps you run an art department and have music in the background to engender a mood or atmosphere. Whichever might be the case, can you say that you actively listen to the music you are using? What does it mean to listen actively?
We have become ever more accustomed to hearing music in our daily lives, more or less as environmental noise, whether it be accompanying breakfast-time news bulletins, underscoring urgent advertising messages or simply from a radio left on to provide ambience at home or in the workplace. In the context of film, television or computer gaming, music has become an essential ingredient, sometimes at a frightening rate of decibels. It’s rare to encounter a public space where music is not present in some form or other and many web sites also use music to underpin a message or signpost a particular sensibility.