Junior Noah Hall on listening vs. hearing


Jerry Fowler

For this installment of What Are YOU Listening To?, Crossed Sabres spoke with junior Noah Hall. Hall is known for his wide-ranging music taste, and he has participated in marching band since the fall of 2013. He is also a member of the W-L Jazz Lab and performs with the McLean Youth Orchestra.

What are you listening to currently–artist, album, song, genre, whatever.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Arvo Pärt’s music, especially his choral works, Blink-182 (old and new) and whatever pieces of music I’m rehearsing for the ensembles I perform with.

How did you get into Arvo Pärt?

I got into a lot of modern classical music, including Arvo Pärt, through my dad, my various music teachers, and a tendency to scroll through endless Wikipedia pages to find music that I don’t know well. In this case, my dad played “Fur Alina” by Arvo Pärt on the piano when I was younger, and I just forgot about it until I got a little older.

Did you listen to Blink-182 when you were younger?

I kind of went through a “punk rock” phase in elementary/middle school, which sort of shocks me because my primary performing interest is more focused around art music than it is in rock or pop. I found them through Nirvana and Green Day, and I was kind of the only one in my friend group who liked them. Nostalgia, dude.

If someone wanted to start listening to modern classical music and/or Blink-182, where would you recommend they start?

That’s a specifically oriented question, but really not limited to those to specifics. “Listening” is a strange word because you can be listening and not hearing. Ideally, whenever I hear a new piece of music (or old one, for that matter) I want to be changed by it. Ultimately musical taste, and broadening musical taste is not just about past experiences. It’s also about a willingness to explore and be made uncomfortable by the music you’re hearing. If you hear Blink-182/modern music for the first time and you’re comfortable with it, I wouldn’t recommend that to you. I learn and grow way more from experiencing new things in music then I do from listening to the same stuff, which is paradoxical because a lot of contemporary classical composers are extremely prolific. Hearing music is a very complicated subject, and while I would love for people to have similar interests as me, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend my tastes if you know or enjoy them.