“A Week Without Records” is an exercise in musical appreciation. The idea is simple, for one week avoid listening to mechanically-reproduced music. The benefits to you are twofold:
First off you will be encouraged to seek out non-mechanical sources of music to listen to. The most obvious source of this is live performances of professional musicians, however you may find other sources of music as well in street performances, friends and family who sing or play an instrument or perhaps you will be motivated to learn to make music of your own?
The second benefit you may experience is a heightened satisfaction with the music you are able to experience. By making music “scarce”, it is easy to savor the music you have and encourage listening deeply instead of passively. I believe that this “mindful” listening will allow you to see the quality in forms of music you may otherwise have overlooked (and perhaps see the opposite in music that is easily available otherwise).
AWWR 2011 will be observed July 3rd - July 9th. This week was selected to coincide with Independence Day celebrations in the United States to increase the likelihood of live music being available in most US communities (not that AWWR is US-only, but that is the area I am most familiar with). Also there just seems to be more live music in the summer :)
The idea for AWWR first came to me while spending a day at Old World Wisconsin. In this re-creation of 1800’s America, the prevailing soundtrack is one of nature and some human voice. In the afternoon we happened across a musician playing an instrument on the porch of a shop and the music was as sweet as any I had ever heard. Even thought the style of the music was outside of my normal “taste”, the combination of the context in which it was presented and in the void of musical sound leading up to the experience, it allowed me to hear the music in a deeper way, seeing past genre and style and feeling only the quality of the musicians work and the instrument’s creators craftsmanship.
I originally set out to create AWWR with detailed descriptions and complexity in 2010 and never completed the project. So instead of all that I’m starting it in 2011 with this simple post and if others find the idea enriching we can work together to make the experience more accessible to others in the following years.
If you’d like to discuss AWWR join me on Twitter (I’m @jasonbot2000) or maybe we’ll run into each other at a concert next month. If you choose to participate I’d love to hear about your experiences!