Brain Tool #25: Listen2Create

Many of the world’s great classical composers LOVED to go for walks in nature to inspire their creative, musical minds. Mozart, Beethoven and Saint-Saens were all well-known for this. They would take walks in nature, not just to clear their heads, but to inspire their composing.  Connecting to nature through active listening and playful interaction is a great way to inspire your own creative juices! Here are some simple suggestions to get the most from your “Listen2Create” nature walk.

First things First:
1. Leave ALL the electronics at home! (I know, it’s tough — but trust me on this one!)
2. Refrain from talking
3. Turn your listening ears on full blast

Some Simple Tips:
Eagle Ears — Give special attention to the rhythm, texture and pitch variations of the sounds around you
Let Go — Of your over-controlling “thinking” mind. Let your full aural attention be drawn into the specifics of what you hear
Go for the Count — Count the number of different sounds you hear. What do you hear in the foreground? In the background? Sounds interacting with one another? Just how many sounds are around you that you’ve never taken the time to notice before?
Move It — Adjust your gait to match, contrast or compliment the rhythms and/or speed of the sound you are focused on
Echo It — That’s right. Get silly, let yourself go and echo what you hear! High Chirp? Low Growl? (well, if you hear that you’ve got other issues!) Echo the pitch, quality, speed of what you are listening to. You can even do this effectively in your head!
Play Around — Play around with the sounds you hear by harmonizing with the sound, improvising a melody inspired by the sound, etc.  This can ALSO be done in your head while still maintaining the fun factor .
Creative Solutions — As you proceed through your walk, what “random” ideas or solutions pop into your head? Make a mental note and jot them down as soon as you return from your walk.

What’s Unique About This BrainTool:
1. Active listening to a variety of rhythms, textures and pitches improves all areas of language processing and production, including reading and writing.
2. Categorizing a variety of sounds improves organizational thinking, short-term memory, math and language skills
3. The cross-lateral movement of walking engages both sides of the brain and steady gait helps synchronize lower brain activity
4. Interacting with nature through active listening and replication reduces  stress and increases  joy, making for a happy and healthy mind-body-spirit!