Thinking Out Loud

Following the Beat

Many years ago when I was first discovering the value of learning styles, I became keenly aware of my auditory sense. For me, hearing is the gateway to understanding. I easily hear emotion in sound, whether it is words or music (other sounds, too). Therefore, talking on the phone is easy for me. I like it. I don’t feel cut off from information the way those who are more strongly visual do. It is my most reliable sense. I trust it.

As I focused more on the auditory sense, I realized how frequently I hear music in my head, especially when I’m alone. For days, I sing a part of a song or orchestral piece, both internally and externally. My body seems attuned to the rhythm of the piece. Often I try to make sense of it: why this theme? Why these words? Why this beat? I never come up with an answer. Does it reflect my mood? Does it keep me focused? Does it guide me in some way? I have no idea, and I know there is no point trying to figure it out. It’s just how I work (process) and it seems to work for me without effort.

Music is powerful—the sound, the beat, the rhythm and timbre. It is integral to culture. A world without music seems and probably is impossible. My world, in some way, revolves around it. My movements are usually in synch with the music in my head.

When I listen to others, I feel the beat and rhythm. I hear the cadence and timbre in the voice. It communicates something vital to me as I absorb communication and try to understand what is of importance. Sometimes I want to close my eyes so I can listen more intently but don’t, for fear others will find it disconcerting.

The auditory sense is vital for most people, yet some of us are clearly more connected through it and with it. It is a rich source of information and essential in guiding us toward understanding and achieving effective communication. The auditory component is, of course, a part of everyone’s communication style. Like other components that are directly related to one of our senses, it is so natural we don’t often think about it, unless we have a physical problem that compromises our use of that particular sense.

Recently I had someone say to me: “I have to remember to directly listen with my ears, because I’m so focused on seeing and feeling.” I often remind myself to pay attention to what I’m seeing because it is so easy and natural for me to only focus on what I’m feeling and hearing.

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