30 July, 2011

Conscious listening

My short TED talk on conscious listening went up on the TED website on Friday July 29 – one of the first from TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, and my third talk on ted.com. I'm honoured, and the reaction to this talk has been wonderful already, as I write just a day later. Views on TED's site are at around 70,000 in just 24 hours (which means double that on the web as a whole) and I have had a lot of great connections from teachers, psychologists, academics and businesspeople who are going to use the five exercises and support the vision of teaching listening in schools.

Here's the talk. Please take a look (and a listen) and pass it on if it resonates with you. The practice of conscious listening will make a real difference in the world.


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  1. I am a middle school music teacher who was thrilled to listen to your TED presentation. I feel that involvement in music is where we learn listening! Every note, every rhythm, every dynamic, articulation, scale, key, phrase, finger, fermata, is all a collective exercise of 1 to 1000 people listening to 1 idea; checking, verifying, altering, and understanding many times per second. I sometimes define "music" as what happens when a whole lot of people listen together - whether it be the performers on stage or the audience; and whether it be in a concert hall or while stir frying. Every day in my class I question and develop listening: "What did you hear?" "What is going on here?" "Are you matching others?" "Who has the melody?" "Who has the harmony?" "Tell me what a part other than your own is doing at this point."

  2. As a teacher I was inspired by your TED talk like many who have shared their admiration with you. Keen to take it further than simply acknowledging that you are right, it struck me that conscious listening is crucial in mastering many of the thinking skills highlighted in the current National Curriculum - listening to feedback, to the views of group members, recognising others have different views etc. I have blogged - http://teacherstonic.blogspot.com/ - a practical idea for bringing a listening activity into the classroom.

  3. Thanks for the kind words. I'm setting up a resource online for educators to share about teaching listening skills. Please email email at julian.treasure@thesoundagency.com if you'd like to be involved.

  4. Julian

    Great talk on the TED network. Silence as the starting point for a rediscovery of total well-being is something I share with those I work with and your talk just encapsulated that so well. Just wrote a blog on that.

    Thank you

    Rohan Narse

  5. I enjoyed your Tedtalk. Couldn't help but laugh at the end of the video when I heard the VERY LOUD TedTalks logo sound.

    Whenever I'm listening to Ted on my ipod, I have to remember to turn down the volume for the intro and outro sound bytes. So ridiculous.



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