Lately I have been listening to other music than jazz. For the past few months actually. I think it is a subconscious or unconscious realization that has led me to this point. This has not been a conscious decision at least. It has made me realize that when I listen to jazz I think of it as learning the tune instead of just listening. Since I am a so called "jazz major" we have to learn all kinds of standards, bebop tunes, ballads, latin charts, etc... and this has taken away the enjoyment of just sitting down and listening.
The other music I have been listening to is music that I used to listen to while growing up; bands like Rancid, Nofx, Sublime and others. While listening to this music I don't think while listening I just fucking listen as comapred to when I am listening to jazz I am constantly listening with thoughts in the back of my head that say that I should be memorizing the tune I am listening to. This takes out all the enjoyment of listening to music. Listening to this non-jazz music has been pretty cool because nothing happens in my mind.
Improvisation is another thing. When listening to jazz I constantly think of what the person is playing/improvising on. If they are playing a certain pattern, scale, something diminished, something altered, something whole tone, something with a b9, #9, b5, #5 etc... While listening I try to figure out what the rhythm section is doing as well and this just takes away from the whole enjoyment of listening. It is worthwhile to know what the rhythm section is doing and what the improviser is actually doing harmonically and to study it but it has made me think in this way all the time while listening to jazz. Most the time at least.
I remember when I first started listening to jazz I didn't really like it. It took a while to grow on me. When it did I couldn't stop listening. Ever since I started studying it over the years the enjoyment of listening to jazz has declined because of my thoughts of trying to learn this art form. I am "trying" to learn something. Like a type of force which doesn't fucking work. I realize after jazz grew on me I was just listening and no thoughts were going on. The occasional "This is fucking awesome" but nothing much else and now I am like "did he play a b9 or #9 on the ii V tritone substitution?" LOL!!