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Looking for ways to teach Critical Listening, [moved from Listening Tests]
madtheory
post Jul 6 2013, 15:34
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This question is primarily for educators, but I'd love to hear from anyone else as well.

I've been teaching critical listening as part of a Live Sound Reinforcement module on a Music Technology course. Despite the fact that students are all music fans they are lacking in listening skills. For example the guitarist might be able to tell the difference between a Stratocaster and a Telecaster, but have no idea about whether a bass drum is real or sampled, nor what mic was used. No student can tell the difference between an SM58 and an LD condenser. No student can tell a sampled piano from a real one, nor identify a Fender Rhodes, a Hammond or a CP70. At least, that is the way it is before they start the course.

I would consider these to be basic skills for music production. I also believe that "learning on the job" is not as effective as well designed, structured learning but I am open to evidence on that! As an educator I am biased. That said, I think doing live sound is an excellent way to learn to listen critically because you need to be able to recognise a problem and solve it, fast! I think a "musical ear" is very different to a critical listener, meaning someone who evaluates sound quality- as we do here via blind ABX.

I am aware of two books on the subject, one by Jason Corey and the other by F. Alton Everest. And I use them.

I would welcome any feedback on my thoughts above.

So fellow teachers, how do you do it?
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