Music Listening Club

Music sessions don’t have to just be practical music-making – music can be a rich topic for discussion and creativity in many directions, and you can often find out interesting things about each other by discussing music together.

Taking inspiration from the idea of book clubs, the Music Listening Club invites members of your music group to share a piece of music that has a special meaning to them, in a group setting. We’ve set out some ideas of how to run the session, but feel free to adapt to fit your particular group.

Before the session

A participant chooses a piece that they would like to bring to the group. This could be their favourite piece or song, something that reflects the current mood or season, or any piece they choose. This piece is then shared with the rest of the group before the session, so everyone can listen to it in advance.

During the session

The participant introduces and explains why they’ve chosen their piece or song, then everyone listens to it together. If you like, you could turn off the lights, or ask everyone to close their eyes so they are just focusing on the music.

After listening together, there should be an opportunity for the group to discuss the piece. Here are some prompt questions that might be useful:

  • When did you first hear this piece/song?
  • What memories does it bring back?
  • What do you like about it?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Any particular parts of the piece you like?

You’ll be able to think of many other questions yourself. When choosing questions which encourage discussion, try and make sure you use open-ended questions. These are ones which encourage an individual to explain what they think, rather than just giving ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

Next steps

After the discussion, listen to the piece again.  If you wanted to, whilst listening everyone could draw a picture or write a poem in response to the piece and the discussion.

You could create a playlist on Spotify or YouTube of all the pieces that your group has chosen, so you have your very own Music Listening Club playlist!

Explore more:

Listening Guide – Beethoven’s Symphony No.5
Listening Guide – Holst’s The Planets
Performance – Mussorgsky: ‘Promenade’