Monday, February 21, 2005

Music - a default conversation piece

I've got to admit, there are times when I am at a complete loss for words. Okay, no making fun. Anyone who knows me personally will not believe the previous statement -- I'm a talker, what can I say. The thing is, there is truly a knack to talking. If I'm ever at a loss I don't have to fill the spot, but you can probably catch my little conversation triggers. One of the most effective conversation techniques is to reflect what someone has said, to confirm that you have it right, then move on, hopefully incorpating your reflection into a trigger.

Music is a conversation trigger. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't listen to music. Even some deaf friends I had in college had music tastes -- especially when making out. In any case, another virtue of having interest in a particular subject is that most people have resulting opinions. This is great for conversation. If everyone has an opinion, it is just a matter of working it into the silence inbetween all the cricket sounds :) HEre are some of my favorites and different responses I notice -- and yes, I'm a total social dork and do this in my mind while I'm talking to people I don't know well. Sue me, it keeps my sporatic mind occupied.

1. What do you listen to? This is the general, I don't know what to talk about and I don't really care lets start talking about something. This is also what I call the cop out question. It's a trade question, I will tell you if you tell me, is rather inherent in the question. It can also be a bit selfish because when you ask this there is an implication of reciprocation later. Kind of like favors, but not as much fun ...

2. What kind of music do you like best? Much better question. This question has more of a peronal feel to it, because you are asking not only what they listen to but what they like. You usually get a run down of 'this I like, generally, but I REALLY like this band the best ..." People will typically save their favorite band or genre until later in the conversation. This question, seemingly, sets up a game to see who illicites the others' favorite bands first. I find that this question is easily misinterpreted, or rather that people project what they want to talk about, moving towards "what music is your favorite" becomes "what is your favorite band/song". You can always return to the subject in observation: "So it sounds like you are into ...?"

3. What do you listen to most often? This presents several options, giving several options: (1) what do you listen to most, (2) what do you listen to and how is that different from what you like, (3) who do you listen to most, (4) what types of music doe you listen to most etc. It's fun to see how people interpret it, because again, it is a projective statement -- the respondor chooses the direction by projecting their interest. I usually get the, "I always catch myself listening to top 40, but I really like ..." or "wow, it's been a while since I really thought about it, I guess I listen to ... but I really like ... more" Answers almost always come in this flavor, the I DO this but I LIKE This more. "It always seems that way though. I always end up listening to stuff I may not be a fan of just because it's on." yer sum up and move to next :)

4. What do you like the best about it? Good question. Not for the novice conversationalist or someone not into music. I happen to have a broad knowledge of music with some classical training, so fielding these requests tend to be pretty easy, until people get obscure. And people LOVE to get obscure. Everyone loves to have that band that no one really knows about. It's fun. For some reason, asking this question gets you to the favorite band issues. So much fun.

Remember to use buzz words: sell out, mainstream, underground, alternative that is no longer alternative, rock, no I mean real rock, gem (aka diamond in the rough), old school, and obscure. I'm telling you, entire conversations. It's fun, and you can carry entire nights doing it. I do it in spurts, but I think my class is catching on. I've actually reaped some fruits of my social consciousness though. I am trading songs with one of my classmates, branching out into new music genre's kew.

night all


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