My father can read a newspaper, listen to the TV and pay attention to a conversation, all at the same time. How he does this I do not know, but being a distinguished professor of mathematics, he does have an exceptional brain.
Fugues are good ways to practice paying attention to more than one thing at the same time. A theme is used, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Three Blind Mice.” The first person starts, and then a second joins in with the same theme only several beats later. As the ear gets more advanced, one can try doing it in different pitches, speed and with more complex themes. While singing with a friend, try to understand how your brain is processing what is going on. Do you understand what each of you is saying or do you tune the other person out so that you don’t lose concentration? Are you listening to the timing and rhythm of the other person throughout the song, or do you just jump in at the right time, and then only pay attention to your own counting or sense of rhythm?
The stringing of the notes
One together holding onto the next.
Up and down
Or side across,
Joining in a harmony.
The hands of sound
Helping one another
To form unity unbroken.
Each one of utter importance,
Yet each one dispensable,
In its own time.
Please use the comments at the bottom of this post to tell me your own stories, poems, opinions and thoughts.
Writing assignment: Write a paragraph where two people are speaking at the same time. One conversation is going on in the first line and then the other is on the second line. Keep alternating lines. See if you can somehow integrate the two.
Music assignment: Try playing and writing an inverted fugue: when one note goes up, the other goes down. Then see if you can vary its timing and speed and still sound harmonious.
Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltISpYhSsZs
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