tips for hosting a DYH session

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  • Choose a comfortable, cordial space and serve refreshments.

  • Musical selections should be no longer than 5 minutes.
    (2-4 minutes is best.)

  • Reserve 45 minutes to an hour. Present only 2-3 songs per session.

  • Hand out copies of the instructions for running a DYH session. This helps participants to follow them.

  • If there are lyrics in the music you’ll play, print them out
    for participants on the back of the DYH instructions.

  • Review the instructions together.  

  • When introducing the music, avoid saying anything that may color people’s impressions. (This is harder than one might think.)

  • Remind people not to talk while the music is playing.
    (Still, some people will not be able to control themselves.
    Stare them down!)

  • Let the small group discussions go for 7-10 minutes.

  • Convene for a larger group discussion, about 5 minutes.

  • Add a few pertinent insights about the background of the music and musicians that will round out participants’ understanding.

  • Play the music again, reminding everyone to try to hear “through other people’s ears.”

  • Leave a minute or two for final impressions before moving on to the next song.  

Recorded music works fine, but if possible, invite a musician or two to perform. Musicians love hearing how audiences engage with their music.