For several months now, I have found myself reflecting on this issue which, in my opinion, is fundamental to the lives of all of us. We live in an increasingly dynamic and innovative era, interrupted by the pandemic we all know about, but which is also a reality in which chaos almost always prevails. What is missing is precisely listening. I have come to conceive of a kind of ideal, which no one possesses on their own, but which we should all strive to apply to everyday life, with commitment and constancy.
Before talking about the world of listening, I would like to dwell on the meaning of the verb itself and its analogues.
To hear: literally - The faculty of hearing, of distinctly perceiving sounds.
To listen [from Latin *ascŭltare for class. auscŭltare] (I listen, etc.). - To hear with attention, to listen.
To feel [from Latin sĕntire] (I feel, etc.). - In a broad sense, to feel any state of consciousness induced in us by the external world through the senses or any emotional state arising in the soul. In the variety of uses and particular meanings, the basic meanings of the verb can be traced to these three: to perceive a perception; to feel a sensation; to experience a feeling.
1. Learning through the senses; receiving one or more sensory impressions and being aware of them.
2. Common especially with reference to the sense of hearing, as a synonym now for hearing and now for listening.
"Here 'feeling' has a double meaning: it is hearing what comes from outside as well as feeling inner emotions."
And what is most interesting is precisely the fact that one meaning does not exclude the other.
"To listen is to hear and feel carefully, without distraction, with awareness and consciousness."
In the age of technology and instant communication we have lost an essential element in our lives: silence. Silence, however, not as the antithesis of music, but in another sense. Not silence as 'absence of sound', but silence as a source of thought and reflection and self-awareness. Our senses are the immediate and direct link with the outside world. They work continuously, as does our mind, which translates and interprets them, so that we are not isolated from our surroundings. If we do not participate voluntarily in this mechanism, it is as if we were always inside a bubble, completely disconnected from the outside world.
"To listen to silence, therefore, to listen to ourselves and our inner world. "
"Listening to ourselves in order to project our emotions outside ourselves."
Listening education. All this reflection of mine was actually born during my brief experience as a teacher of Music Education in secondary schools. During the first few weeks, I observed the children and their behaviour, so that I immediately noticed a latent absence of dialogue, of listening to others and of confrontation. Thus, I thought of proposing a new key to interpreting the subject: by now, the mission was to educate to listen first of all.
And one thought in particular, which came at just the right moment, caught my attention...
The text is taken from a Facebook post by Angelo Gilardino.
<<I have said in various circumstances, and I repeat it here, that the future of musical culture depends on the work being done by teachers in basic educational institutions - in Italy, the middle school - much more than on the activity of the musicians (stars of the limelight or less famous) who perform all over the world in theatres and concert halls. The responsibility of those who teach children to play an instrument or even just to listen to music is huge. It is not just a matter of providing initial training for future musicians, but above all of creating an area that is sensitive and capable of making music a pillar of their education (initially) and then of their culture.>>
"I insist on this point: it doesn't matter so much that future conservatoire students come out of secondary school, but the future listeners of operas, concerts, recordings, those who will form that connective tissue between professional musicians and people who know nothing about music and want to know nothing."
In 20 years' time, La Scala will be able to put on 'Il Trovatore', 'Bohème' and 'Wozzeck' in splendid productions, but they will do so for the desert, if the music teachers in secondary schools cannot prevent Verdi, Puccini and Berg from being mistaken for former footballers or formula one drivers: that is the risk,
"...and it is not the great conductors and performers of today who will decide on which side the scales will fall, but the young teachers who today occupy apparently marginal positions in schools. It is more up to them than to us."
Reading these words was enlightening and disappointing at the same time, precisely because I realised how deep-rooted the problem is in our society. The challenge is great, but it is up to us to decide whether to accept it and hope for a network of increasingly interested listeners. Will we really be so bold? Who should lead this battle?
There are those who would think of musicians as the front line, but that is not enough. Those who are musicians by trade, as artists, certainly have the task of building and spreading 'the beautiful'. But, as Gilardino exhorts in his message, whoever has the task of educating <future listeners> must also take on the task of educating them to listen (Music) and to beauty (Art). We are all involved, we must be, to demand change.
The invitation to listen almost seems like an intense inner journey, face to face with our deepest selves, leading us to the ultimate goal of expressing our emotions. We find ourselves at a crossroads: on the one hand, we have typical, everyday feelings that are so easy to express, and on the other, emotions and sensations that not everyone is trained to realise. Let us therefore rely on Art, the undisputed queen of the expression of man and Nature. Through the work of the artists we observe, listen to and admire, we can truly come to understand ourselves.
Ludwig Van Beethoven said:
"Where words do not reach... Music speaks."
In the same way, where words do not reach, Art gives life to our innermost thoughts.
Let's believe in it, because today in particular we need Art.
Let us hope, to find the strength to go on, today as never before.Let us hope, to find the strength to go on, today as never before.Let us hope, to find the strength to go on, today as never before.
"Let's listen to each other, to understand each other fully."