Like never before

If you take lessons with me for awhile, you might come across a particularity of mine. I have already talked about it on my blogs, but that’s hardly a clue because I discuss a wide variety of subjects here. I love music. That’s the surprising fact. No, no, don’t quit on me yet with a frown of disgust. You would be surprised how many musicians do not like music, and, by that, I mean listening to music. Oh, sure, playing music is fun for musicians. But listening: it’s an entirely different matter. Or, they might listen to music in their car, or while doing gardening or housework, in other words: background music.

I have a problem, I confess. I do not want to turn this blog, which has so far been fairly clean of any commercial, into a vulgar infomercial trying to push the latest potato laser peeler, the one that can remove nose hair too.

But something pretty big has happened recently: I am listening to music… again. Ah! See what I did there? You thought I was one of those virtuous muso complete in any sense that spent time everyday listening to sweet sweet music and doing nothing else all the while. Unfortunately, I can describe the strife of a pro so well because they are very familiar to me. So, no, I wasn’t listening to music anymore. Or, as I scorned earlier, only while being busy doing god-knows-what-else.

But this has changed.

Disclaimer: if you’re not interested in a product, stop reading. However, if you want to know more, hold my hand.

I just bought a gizmo, here it is:

There we have a wonder. It seems like a common pair of headphone (Yes, they look good, but I don’t care), but they are changing my life. Kid you not. These are so precise, I can hear so many details and the dynamics are so punchy that I AM THERE! In the last 3 weeks, I have been in a church enjoying Bach Saint-Matthews Passion. I’ve been rocking with Bob Seger and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I have been in smoky jazz club smiling at the sounds of Miles Davis or Charlie Parker. I have heard, yes, heard, the littlest tick of a hi hat buried in the mix, the tiniest keyboard overdub in a fusion ensemble, the slightest breath of Billy Holyday or Sarah Vaugh, the variations of hoarseness in Louis Armstrong’s voice. All is there, in full light. These headphones are incredible. I am re-discovering songs from my childhood, the very ones I used to listen to on the radio, and, in one of them, the keyboard sound wasn’t a keyboard sound: it was a guitar coupled to an accordion!

Now, I know it seems trivial, because, after all, the world is full of good headphone. But these are also super comfortable and smart phone friendly, meaning you don’t need special amp and added gear to make them shine. Trust me, not all high-end headphones are built like that.

If you’ve been taking drum lessons with me lately, you know that I’ve revamped my whole pedagogy. Now, people play along songs. Lots of song. Well, someone has to put those songs to the computer and extract the mp3s. That’s me, always me, with my keyboard and trying to guess what’s the bass or the trumpets doing. It’s not easy. Correction: It WAS not easy. Things are so faint sometimes, it’s almost as if they’re not in the mix. But with my new headphone, I am a super-transcriber. The tender cauliflower leaves on each side of my head have found the switch light in the dark staircase of detailed music. Do I need to hear what Dear old Paul McCartney was doing on the bass back in 1965 with his famous band: I got it! It’s immediate and clear like looking for an elephant in an otherwise empty closet.

Now, I felt obliged to show you the picture of those cans. But I don’t feel obliged to give you the reference. You can find them on your own, if you so chose. I’ll stop there my speech as a salesman. Because I’m not a salesman. I’m a musician in love with listening to music… again.