Windows Of Attention

Consider two scenes.

You’re on your way somewhere–riding the elevator, walking, or sitting on the train–listening to music. You don’t have much time so you listen closely and the music has an urgency about it. You notice details in the sounds, details you hadn’t noticed before.

You’re sitting at an instrument, making music. You were busy trying this and that, but nothing was working. Then, suddenly, something is happening: the sounds insist that you attend to their unlike-anything-you’ve-heard-before quality. You aren’t sure how this opportunity has presented itself, but it may not last long so no more faffing about! You begin making something around the sounds.

What these scenes about listening to and making music have in common is that they unfold in limited time, leading us to a narrowed window of attention and a heightened sense of focus. The scenes remind us of the relatively limited opportunities for encountering musical experiences. 

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