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1. To maintain and improve aural capability.
    a) Inner hearing      b) Outer hearing

2. To maintain and improve an awareness of rhythm, time, and all of their components.

3. To maintain and improve relationship to the instrument through all types of improvisation.

4. To maintain and improve mental connection to the instrument through the study of theory and form.

5. To maintain and improve musical awareness through focused listening.

6. To maintain and improve technique.

7. To actively seek and understand outside/extra-musical influences and filter them through your instrument.

The Five-Fold Hierarchy of Listening (States of Reception)

States of listening: intuitive, rational, passive, meditation, analysis, active, improvisation, and composition.

1. Receiving - what is (listening)
2. Living - what is (improvisation)
3. Contemplating - what is (meditation)
4. Describe - what is(analysis)
5. Shaping - what is (composition)

1. Receiving What Is (Listening)

From the moment of our conception to our death, we are in a natural state of listening: A faculty that we have no control over. There are manifold levels of physical listening. Reception from the ear and its components is the most obvious, though listening on a cellular and vibrational level are of prime importance as well. Absence of a physiological ability to hear has nothing to do with the ability to receive.

2. Living What Is (Improvisation) The reception of stimuli -- physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually -- creates energy in the body. How this energy is transformed and used is the act of living. All living is fundamentally improvisatory based on choices available as a result of the stimuli. Improvisation is a natural state of innocence impeded and ultimately squelched by fear.

3. Contemplating What Is (Meditation)

The elimination of fear is meditation. By interceding between reception of stimuli and response, contemplation is able to positively transform energy. Contemplative listening requires reception without judgement, without goal, and without purpose. When reception is allowed to be undisturbed, then its sole transformation is positive.

4. Describing What Is (Analysis)

The ability to describe and intellectualize stimuli after they have been received and contemplated is essential for creating order and a system of values. How does one use transformed energy, for example.

5. Shaping What Is (Composition)

The ability to receive, improvise, contemplate, and analyze, is expressed in its highest form through composition. Creating a new reality in conjunction or parallelling actual reality is the pinnacle of listening. Composition contains and encompasses the previous four states. The ability to compose enables one to live in harmony and utilize stimuli rather than being shaped by them.

Types of Stimuli

  • The five senses (tangible and intangible)
  • Extrasensory (cellular and vibrational)
  • Genetic (encoded and evolutionary)
  • Cultural

Levels of Creative Practice

1. Learning "I don't know how to do this but I'm going to try." Coming to grips with a concept, idea, or information for the first time. Attempting many approaches before it can be executed.

2. Maintaining "I know how to do this but don't know how it applies to other things." Solidifying that which has been learned. Can become a state of stagnation.

3. Expanding "I am beginning to see how this all relates." Developing an understanding of what has been learned and maintained. First intimations of viewing things from more than one viewpoint.

4. Connecting "I can draw connections to everything I've learned so far, making it easier for me to learn and execute new ideas." Drawing together prior ideas, concepts, and information to form a unified picture of the endeavor.

5. Departing "I can now move freely within the realm I've created so that I can use accumulated information as a springboard to move into other realms." Mastering the previous four stages.

Two Types of Practice

1. Micropracticing. The isolation of a specific section or concept and its rote, meditational practicing.

2. Macropracticing. The equivalent of cross-training, the practice of several concepts at once.

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