On Open-Earedness, with Tim McKenry

“That’s where curiosity can overcome — because what we discover is, once we’ve built a repertoire for ourselves, our minds very readily sort the information of what we hear.” ~ Tim McKenry

“Open-earedness” describes our willingness to explore new music. I’ve come to think of it as the auditory equivalent of open-mindedness.

Good news: there’s delightfully compelling evidence that choosing to be curious about music is good for our health and well-being!

Tim McKenry, professor of music at Australian Catholic University, is a spirited advocate for reclaiming our tolerance of the unfamiliar and making music an intentional and expanding part of our lives.

Go ahead, open those ears!

“If we can use our decision-making capacity to say, ‘I will deliberately undertake a certain set of behaviors,’ we can change, we can adapt. And here’s the thing: music is designed to generate pleasure. If our musical taste becomes ever-smaller as we age…then life gets harder…But if we can explore deliberately, create new experiences and expand our taste, then our capacity to experience joy and to understand other people is expanded, too.”

Listen to Choose to be Curious #202: On Open-Earedness, with Tim McKenry

Learn more about Timothy McKenry here, and dig into his theconvesation.com column on enjoying new music as we age..

Here’s some of the research behind open-earedness by David Hargreaves.

Credit to Rob Walker and his The Art of Noticing for sharing Tim’s work, and to Justine Ickes for calling it to my attention!

Theme music by Sean Balick. “Pxl Htra” by The Fence, via Blue Dot Sessions

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