How often do you listen to music without doing anything else? -

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Christopher Robin
A thought occurred to me a few weeks ago which is that I haven't listened to an album while not doing something else in years. I'm always either on the computer, driving or cooking as I'm listening. I stopped listening to music/podcasts when I'm walking or getting the train or whatever about a month ago in an autistic attempt to be more present and to stop needing constant stimulation, and this thought came to me as a natural progression of that.
I've asked around and most of the people I've talked to agreed with me and said that they haven't either, treating music as a side activity, something to passively entertain them as they do something else. A few people were quite surprised when they realised this and reminisced about when they would buy a new record, they would sit down and dedicate huge chunks of time to solely listening to it.

So that's what I've started doing the past few weeks and I've been enjoying it. I'm not hugely into music so maybe this is something that people who are do all the time, and I sound like an idiot. But I'm curious as to if other people are the same as me. Did you use to listen to music on its own and now don't? Why do you think people don't do this as much anymore? And is it a loss to not dedicate time to only listening to music?


NIbblin' bits since 2006
I do it all the time. Honestly, after the first time I smoked pot, I had an epiphany where I came to the same realization you have. A lot of people, music is something to consume, to them. It really is an art--the thing is, people only look at art an average of like 30 seconds. They do it very passively and dont really think about it, care about it or respond to it. I started getting into hipster shit and vinyl, one because I love the soft, round, warm sound, but two because when you put on an album, it is kind of a trip. You sit there and listen to it, read the sleeve, whatever, really think about and LISTEN to the music, it takes more of your attention than any other way of listening to music. I will listen to music on walks and just get absorbed into it, thinking about it, I also listen to tracks on youtube. If I get really into it, I can sit there and just listen to music, just appreciating it. Its kind of like reading a book, kind of meditative, you shut out a lot of everything else and just, exist, for a bit.

I know it's pretty autistic and most people wont care about it that much, but like I said, I had that stoner epiphany where I realized that all my life up until like 16, I hadnt ever really actually listened to music. It was always background noise, in a way, beats, rhythms, melodies; catchy, nice sounding, sure, but if you focus on it and really listen, and hear, you can hear so much more, different layers, different instruments, how it's mixed and how that affects the overall piece, shit like that. It's a bit more like intimate and interactive with your music.

Im pretty gay about it.

adorable bitch

laughing at you
True & Honest Fan
does it count if you use music as background noise for your thoughts?

music helps me write.


not a financial adviser
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
That's how I primarily listen to music.

I'm a big fan of music videos in general. I have a collection on my HDD I often watch through.


Standing in the school hallway.
Does listening to music on the bus count if I'm not doing anything else other than looking out the window?

My phone is talk and text only so I'm not doing anything on that while listening to music.

When I'm not driving (when it's in the background) and I decide to listen to music that's the only thing I do. I will sit there for 30 mins+ enjoying it--I think it's really fun to unwind that way.

Sometimes I put on background music, but not as often and I choose a different kind of music.

That's actually an interesting way of thinking about it, though. It never occurred to me that we can all listen to music in different ways and dedicating a chunk of time to music alone could be considered unusual.

Gordon Cole

Yep, he's dead
True & Honest Fan
I'm the kind of person who'll listen to music any chance that I get. Whether it's riding on the train, running errands, working on stuff, doing chores or just chilling out, I'm probably listening to something. Plus I have a vinyl collection, so that kind of demands being there to listen to it.


Wearing the same blue mask since 2004
True & Honest Fan
Only just before I sleep and am too tired to read.

AF 802

A lot of times - when I'm out walking someplace.

I have epilepsy, and even though it's really not that type, I'm a little scared of driving (worrying I'm going to kill somebody with my car someday), so I walk a lot of places and will listen to music while I'm walking. Hopefully that'll stop, when I can move somewhere that's more walkable.

Tiny Clanger

Which one of you bastards pulled my loose thread?
True & Honest Fan
I'm an old fart, and its kinda sad how disposable music is now.

There's always been a divide between casual listeners and real fans, or audiophiles and non, but this is the first generation in which the way we consume music has changed drastically. It's instantly accessible, easily findable and immediately available - I think maybe we listened to it more as a thing in itself because we had to work harder to obtain it. Especially those who listened to stuff outside the norm; I'd buy albums on the strength of hearing one track once and, once I'd found out who it was and tracked it down, I was bloody well going to listen to it properly. Besides, the only alternative was a knackered TV, and I've never been into telly.

I've never stopped, tho. I still buy CDs, still have good hifi separates, still have a stack of vinyl. Mp3s are great for personal players (don't drive) but they're not an album experience. But the immediacy of music now means I've discovered entire new genres and bands, stuff I'd never heard of before, so it's best of both worlds. But, although I love this new stuff and its inevitably what I choose as background music, whenever I actually sit and just listen to an album for the sake of listening to it, I invariably choose the old faves.

Be interesting to see what happens when the MP3 generation are older. Albums don't have the same import now; it used to be singles were almost a taster to buying an album but that's changed utterly now. I guess there will always be stoned teenagers lying around listening to whatever, but this generation has grown up with multiple devices to hand so are used to multi-tasking even in leisure.

Desire Lines

so long, and thanks for all the fish
True & Honest Fan
I used to listen to it as background noise as a teenager, but with years I've come to realize just how much you miss when you do that. I highly recommend taking at least one of your fav albums, and trying to listen to them without doing anything, or while taking a walk. It makes you appreciate music so much more. As for the background music, I usually either use something poppy, or something ambient, like Brian Eno.

Block Me
I prefer to listen to music while I'm walking or on a long drive, but it's not passive listening at all. I find myself far more engaged when I'm active, it's like being on my feet or on the road fires up that part of my mind that makes me appreciate a well-made song so much more. Back in the day, I could only listen to music when I had the stereo to myself and my siblings weren't around to drown it out, so smartphones and MP3 players have allowed me to appreciate music in ways I never could before.