Listening for listening’s sake

Adelle Elwood shares a weekly full-album experience with listeners at Mount Allison

Savannah Forsey/The Argosy

Each Wednesday evening in the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music, friends gather in room 100. On those nights, what is a classroom by day turns into a comfortable venue for the Eclectic Listening Club. Together, participants sit and listen to an album of eclectic music from start to finish, taking it in without expectation or distraction. The atmosphere is welcoming yet quiet as students congregate to hear the latest music selection.

Adelle Elwood, a third-year music student, came up with the idea to make a listening club while driving in her car. “I was listening to music really loudly and having a nice time just experiencing it,” she said. She said she decided to start this small group on campus so that she could enjoy music with her friends.

Students in the music program are required to listen to music often, mostly focusing on the classical genre. The curriculum requires students to think about and analyze the music; to not only listen but contemplate the meaning and structure behind each piece. Elwood views this club as a refreshing hiatus from that world of deep and critical listening. “Because we have to listen to a lot of classical music in this program, it’s just nice to listen to something else,” she said. “Listening Club is a time where we can just enjoy music and we don’t have to think about it too much.”

At the Eclectic Listening Club, participants can sit in chairs, on the floor or even bring yoga mats and lay down. The environment is very casual and invites you to have the most pleasant experience possible. “There are no other sounds. It’s kind of a different experience to have the music around you instead of just hearing it from your headphones,” said Elwood. “More people should come lay on the floor and listen to music with me!”

Similar clubs take different forms all over the world. Some are exclusive to vinyl, while others require the listeners to wear noise cancelling headphones. With these clubs, enjoying recorded music becomes a social activity rather than part of a chore or obligation.

The music itself is a variety of eclectic albums ranging from Pulitzer Prize-winner Kendrick Lamar to Polaris Prize-winner Jeremy Dutcher. The club has experienced these artists as well as the Slits, Animal Collective, Wulfpeck and Florence and the Machine. Each week, Elwood chooses an album based on her own findings as well as the recommendations of others. She hopes that the variety of music provides the opportunity for participants to branch out from their own music tastes.

Listening for listening’s sake is something that is not often done in this age of multitasking. Consider joining Adelle and the Eclectic Listening Club on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. Stray from your everyday music tastes and experience something new and exciting.

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