David Kaetz

Listening with Your Whole Body

by David Kaetz
David’s work invites us to return to a fully embodied mode of listening, the one for which evolution has prepared us. Through this approach people can improve their own hearing, overcome perceptual disorders, get more pleasure from music, and enter into a surprisingly different quality of contact with themselves, with others, and with nature, where it all begins.

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by David Kaetz
David’s work invites us to return to a fully embodied mode of listening, the one for which evolution has prepared us. Through this approach people can improve their own hearing, overcome perceptual disorders, get more pleasure from music, and enter into a surprisingly different quality of contact with themselves, with others, and with nature, where it all begins.

What can you do to improve your own hearing and listening? How can you get more joy out of music, listen more effectively to others, and take better care of this precious window on the world?

As it is the whole person who walks and runs, and not just the legs, it is surely the whole person who looks and sees, listens and hears... Working with the whole sensing person produces qualitative shifts in perception. In other words, by learning to look and listen differently, people do see and hear differently. Improving your listening can alter the dimensionality, depth, colour, and texture of your auditory experience, along with your satisfaction from it. These changes in the experienced quality of perception do not occur in the ears, but in the brain. The sense of hearing is about far more than loudness, and the activity of listening—one of the least observed but most central aspects of our being—involves far more than our ears.

Awareness of sound happens through processes which no-one can claim to understand fully or even to locate precisely. However, we can safely say that it is the brain that is making sense of the world, summing up all the input streams available to it. Our “auditory image” of the world is likewise constructed from several streams of information. If you can hear well through your ears, you will hear better still when your eyes are relaxed, your breath is free, your skeleton is well-aligned, and—above all—when you are listening with a quiet mind.

“David is a born teacher. His listening work improves hearing function and resonates in multiple dimensions that bring us into a larger wholeness as we listen to ourselves and others.”

– Donna Blank, Feldenkrais Trainer, Bethesda, MD

Listening with the Whole Body sets out a fresh and delight filled process for improving and enriching the act of hearing and listening. Through this approach people can improve their own hearing, overcome perceptual disorders, get more pleasure from music, and enter into a surprisingly different quality of contact with themselves, with others, and with nature, where it all begins.

Working with the whole sensing person produces qualitative shifts in perception. In other words, by learning to look and listen differently, people do see and hear differently. Improving your listening can alter the dimensionality, depth, colour, and texture of your auditory experience, along with your satisfaction from it. These changes in the experienced quality of perception do not occur in the ears, but in the brain. The sense of hearing is about far more than loudness, and the activity of listening—one of the least observed but most central aspects of our being—involves far more than our ears.

“After twenty years of professional experience as a classical violinist, the changes I’m experiencing are as welcome as they are unexpected. The new ways of listening have also transferred to my playing and I’ve never known such visceral pleasure in the physicality of the sound. Also, to my joy, I’m better able to enjoy the voices of my children and husband, as well as my own.”

– Andrea Hallam, Musician and Feldenkrais Trainee

  • Foreword – xi
  • Dedications and Acknowledgements – xv
  • Part One: Basics of Hearing and Listening – 1
  • Chapter 1: Sound is a Spatial Event – 1
  • Chapter 2: If a Tree falls in the Forest – 7
  • Chapter 3: Sensing and Attending – 9
  • Chapter 4: A Pair of Impairments – 13
  • Chapter 5: The Visible Ear I – 15
  • Chapter 6: The Visible Ear II – 19
  • Chapter 7: Vibrating Bodies I – 21
  • Chapter 8: Vibrating Bodies II – 25
  • Chapter 9: Particle and Wave – 29
  • Chapter 10: Music and Cognition – 33
  • Part Two: Growing up Listening, or Not – 35
  • Chapter 11: Rumi’s Tongue, Einstein’s Tongue, & Yours – 35
  • Chapter 12: Mirroring and Abandonment – 41
  • Chapter 13: Walk and Talk: The Great Separation – 45
  • Chapter 14: Listening and Language Learning – 47
  • Part Three: Back to the Roots of Meaning – 49
  • Chapter 15: Resonance, Harmony and Entrainment – 49
  • Chapter 16: Rumi and the Poetry of Reconnection – 55
  • Chapter 17: Rilke and the Mythology of Reconnection – 57
  • Chapter 18: The Sociobiology of Reconnection – 61
  • Part Four: Some Difficulties – 65
  • Chapter 19: Closing the Doors of Perception – 65
  • Chapter 20: Rooms for Improvement – 71
  • Chapter 21: The Assault on the Ears – 75
  • Chapter 22: Tinnitus – 79
  • Chapter 23: The Shadow of Language Itself – 87
  • Chapter 24: Body Armour: Pro and Con – 93
  • Part Five: Listening to Music and Language – 95
  • Chapter 25: The Hang of Listening – 95
  • Chapter 26: Listening to Words – 97
  • Part Six: Listening out of the Box – 101
  • Chapter 27: Perception: Left, Right, and 360 Degrees – 101
  • Chapter 28: Why are Whales Big? – 107
  • Chapter 29: Muscles and Tubes – 113
  • Chapter 30: “I feel like my skin is all ears!” – 117
  • Chapter 31: Echolocation – 121
  • Part Seven: Deep Listening, and Deeper – 123
  • Chapter 32: Musicians Together – 123
  • Chapter 33 Two Silences – 127
  • Chapter 34: Listening-without-an-Object – 129
  • Part Eight: Afterword – 133
  • Appendix I: Short Exercises: Reprise – 139
  • Appendix II: A Home Listening Practice – 141
  • Appendix III: Imagining an Integrative Approach – 145
  • Appendix IV: The Work of Alfred Tomatis – 151
  • Appendix V: A Piano Tuner’s Way in Listening – 155
  • Bibliography – 159

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