We move through life these days at a fast clip, moving from one activity to the next quickly, less efficiently, less smoothly. I know I am completely guilty of this as well. However, I’ve noticed a push towards leading one’s life more slowly, filled with awareness and intentional behavior. One notable movement has been the slow-food movement, but less well-known is the push for longer more thoughtful writing and what brings me to this post; engaged music listening or slow listening.
These are probably the coolest headphones I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a few. So, how would these seemingly attractive, yet normal looking headphones promote slow listening? Jonas Breme introduced the idea of slow listening through the creation of his project Listen Carefully (a pair of headphones) while in school at the University of Applied Science in Potsdam, Germany. Bremes challenges the way we listen and consume music today. He states that listening to music was once an active experience. Active in that you sat and focused on what you were hearing. You took the time to contemplate the song; you let it consume you. However today, listening to music has transformed into a passive experience or passive listening as coined by H. Weber.
It is true that we plug in our earbuds or throw on our headphones to do our work, take a run, or drive in the car. Listening to music has become a side-activity. However, we rarely sit back, keep still, and enjoy the music streaming into our ears. So, in lieu of passively listening to music, Bremes advocates for active, mindful listening with these Listen Carefully Headphones. They are unique because in order to listen to music with them on, you must stay still, relax and listen. Each time you move or get up and walk around, your movements trigger a sensor that lowers the volume of your music. Pretty cool idea, nay? Bremes has a short write up on his website if you want his words on the subject. I think it’s a neat concept and one that would keep us more engaged in the moment.
Disclosure: I did write this post while listening to music. So guilty.
Whether or not you listen to these with a focused mind, here are some songs rotating though my playlist (thanks NPR).