Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Monday 24 March 2008

Practicing empathy

To improve your communication skills it is important to practice empathy. My dictionary defines empathy as "the quality or process of entering fully, through imagination, into another's feelings or motives." The more you understand the other, the better you can convey your message. I practice this through music. The more you train your ears, the better you can play music. Since I was a child I often to listen to Bach’s St Matthews Passion with Eastern. The violin solos I knew and liked best. My father practiced them at home in the weeks before Eastern. During the performance I could dream every note. Sometimes my father took me to a rehearsal and I sat next to the daughter of the conductor with the score in between us. With our student orchestra we performed the Passion many times and with different choirs. When you play yourself it all sounds different. The conductor makes you learn to hear new dimensions. The more you listen the more you hear. The more the music has to give. Every year something new strikes me. This year it was the flute solo in the second part in the aria ‘For love my Savior now is dying’. The flute – accompanied by two hoboes – playing around the soprano made me shiver. Outside the garden was white with snow. A bird flew out of a tree. The score outlined the human condition.

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