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This article is taken from PN Review 180, Volume 34 Number 4, March - April 2008.

The Way of Music Robin Maconie

This series is about how and why we listen and how to listen to music creatively and confidently. It is designed to develop reasoning skills through programmed exercises in critical thinking and listening for readers of every culture, whether or not they have formal musical qualifications. The six-books-in-one format can be read randomly as a source of provocative ideas, or sequentially as a series of learning packages leading from discussion topics about the hearing process to critical engagement with actual pieces from classical and world music. A listening programme is easy to set up, stimulating to take part in, and can greatly improve student confidence and writing skills.

'Classical music has a strong effect on me mentally. The music seems to motivate me and many times it inspires me when I am on the verge of quitting. I somehow feel like a better person.'

From Book One: 101 Ways of Hearing a Dog Bark

1
What you hear is the truth.
The rest is up to you.

2
A dog barks:
Woof! Woof!

3
An unseen dog that barks
is still a dog.

4
If you can hear it,
then you can hear.

5
In a bark,
a dog exists.


From Book Two: Walking the Dog
1
What you hear is the truth. The rest is up to you.
In order to come to a decision at all about what a sound is, or what it ...


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