Being a musician involves a certain amount of "intake": listening, looking, absorbing.
There are a number of ways that you can "take in" music - you can listen to an audio recording, you can watch a video or you can see a live performance. Which of these do you prefer, and which gives you the most insight?
Each way of taking in music offers its own kinds of advantages. Listening to an audio recording really hones in on your sense of sound, without visual distractions. Of course, this depends greatly on whether you are listening while driving in a car, listening while chopping potatoes in the kitchen, or listening in the dark while sitting on the couch. For me, that last option is my absolute favorite way to truly take in music - almost no distractions, including visual!
But you get get a lot of musical insight from visual cues, and you can also see someone's playing technique. Both a live performance and a video can offer this. A live performance gives you the entire atmosphere: an event, with musicians right there and the sound being created for you in the same room. Of course, your perception does depend on where you are sitting, the quality of the hall, and if there are any other distractions around you - for example, that audience member unwrapping a cough drop...
A video can be great, especially when it is filmed from an optimal vantage and recorded with quality sound equipment. You can also easily back it up and go over something many times, if you wish to catch something (and this is also possible with an audio recording, though without any visual element). Of course, it might not be filmed or recorded well, and also you might be watching it on a computer screen, which likely does not offer optimum sound. Still, it's pretty amazing that you can see a performance given by a special artist from last century or any number of performances by today's best players.
So what is your favorite, of these three ways of taking in music? Please participate in the vote, and then share your insights and observations.
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