Author Topic: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music  (Read 20456 times)

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Offline Richard

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Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:46:34 PM »
Ok. So I thought about posting this as a gag, but this happened on last month... and I'm wondering if I am alone?

A close friend invited me over for an evening of casual conversation and music. He wanted me to hear: "The greatest living composer/pianist" and "The most gifted singer of our age."

I have known him for a long time so I suppose I wasn't surprised to be subject to two hours of:

Chilly Gonzales on piano


And Sarah Brightman


Actually, the Sarah Brightman wasn't so bad after Mr. Gonzales.

Question? How do you respond to friends who obviously have an interest in something beyond the typical, manufactured, pop music diet? But, they are being fed a bunch of crossover music slush?
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." — Berthold Auerbach

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 01:10:39 PM »
Use it as a stepping stone. For example, I did a quick listen on Amazon (just 30 seconds per track) and hit paydirt on track 3 (Sogni). The part they play there is a rip off of the Pear Fishers by Bizet. This is a big opening to opera, singers, Bizet, that opera, the famous duet from that opera, etc. Maybe next time you see him, bring him a disc that has that duet on it sung for the original part. Or send him a mp3 file of that duet when you get home to show him what the original sounds like. It's a gorgeous duet, so if he likes SB's version, he should like the original.

I don't know how you endured the hour chilling with Chilly. I was left cold! :) Awful, I know.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Richard

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 01:46:49 PM »
Use it as a stepping stone. For example, I did a quick listen on Amazon (just 30 seconds per track) and hit paydirt on track 3 (Sogni). The part they play there is a rip off of the Pear Fishers by Bizet. This is a big opening to opera, singers, Bizet, that opera, the famous duet from that opera, etc. Maybe next time you see him, bring him a disc that has that duet on it sung for the original part. Or send him a mp3 file of that duet when you get home to show him what the original sounds like. It's a gorgeous duet, so if he likes SB's version, he should like the original.

I don't know how you endured the hour chilling with Chilly. I was left cold! :) Awful, I know.

You’re brilliant !!  I don’t know how I missed that. Maybe too much wine 🍷

There was a production of “The Pearl Fishersl” here not too long ago and I was there. I’ll haul out a copy of “Au fond du temple saint" and see how we do.

Thanks so much.
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." — Berthold Auerbach

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2019, 09:59:00 PM »
It’s time to educate your friend, but only if they’re willing to listen and, more importantly, have asked for recommendations. Use tact and be kind. We all have to start from somewhere of course, but if you don’t say something soon, you may be in for another night of Sarah Brightman. ;)
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline dissily Mordentroge

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 07:02:05 PM »
If I’ve missed a thread on musical education in relation to classical music my apologies.

I’m constantly irritated by school end of year concerts where the little brats have been thoroughly brainwashed with populist junk and taught to regurgitate it (almost always out of tune) for their parents and relatives. Why, how and when did classical technique vanish from music education and why is classical music assiduously ignored by so many of todays so called music educators?
If I was a school music teacher I’d hit the little darlings (if the school possessed a more than half way decent sound system) with something shockingly loud, dramatic and large scale or drag them along to a concert of something like Handel’s ‘Messiah’ or the Sans Sans organ symphony. Nibbling around at the edges with ‘polite’ music invariably bores the pants off today's young. Then we have the problem of today’s youth expecting eye candy with all their music. I’d hate to be a school music teacher today given you’d be dealing with classrooms full of desensitised listeners with an attention span of 3 mins 23 secs.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 12:46:51 AM by dissily Mordentroge »

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2019, 09:42:18 PM »
It wouldn’t hurt to give kids a little sample of many different types of classical music, or even other types of music featuring classical instruments. Something might spark their enthusiasm and encourage them to take up an instrument. It’s taken me about 40 years to start looking beyond the popular and realise there’s some classical music I actually like.

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2019, 10:41:03 PM »
Would this good ole series still have effect?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_People%27s_Concerts

Offline accmacmus

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2020, 11:05:08 PM »
It wouldn’t hurt to give kids a little sample of many different types of classical music, or even other types of music featuring classical instruments. Something might spark their enthusiasm and encourage them to take up an instrument. It’s taken me about 40 years to start looking beyond the popular and realise there’s some classical music I actually like.

Can't but quote this, «classical» is such a big turf and many people over the years develop an affinity for a particular period or instrument. So the more (and the more varied), the merrier!

edit: ouch, sorry for necroposting
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 11:47:47 PM by accmacmus »

Offline Holden

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2021, 10:44:05 PM »
This prompted me to go to my recording of 'Au Fond Du Temple Saint' from the Pearl Fishers which is surely the piece MC Urkneal was referring to. Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill - spine tingling music.
Cheers

Holden

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2021, 04:49:17 PM »
A young collegue at my work heard me playing the classical radio station a few weeks back and next time we had to work together asked that it be left playing for the whole of our ten hour shift so he could get a sense of it.

Luckily for him the station changed some years back to playing only individual movements rather than whole works, so its more useful as a sampler and if there is something he might actively dislike it will be replaced in short order.

He had questions for me all through the night and it was unexpected just how little context he had fot the most basic assumptions about classical music performance I would previously thought were acquired through osmosis or films and tv even if you've never heard a whole symphony.

At one point he recognized a tune from an advertisement, I said it was Vivaldi, and much of our conversation was centered on Vivaldi. He was surprised to learn he died going on three hundred years ago and people were writing music back then. He said "So you haven't been to a Vivaldi concert, then". I said I'd been to many, and he honestly didn't understand how that was possible and I had to explain publishing and that most concerts are without the composer and using only the sheet music as their guide. At another point he looked up Vivaldi on Spotify and asked if these were Vivaldi's own recordings, and I had to explain that he died before recorded sound and how and when that technology happened. I showed him a portrait and again he was genuinely baffled that someone should look and dress so strangely.

I don't offer these anecdotes here to mock him, but to express my own surprise that its now possible to reach the age of twenty five with absolute zero context. I was given at least a sketchy outline at school. He tells me it was never mentioned.

My main advice was to treat it like getting into any other genre of music: don't treat it like homework - if you find something you like play more of that.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2021, 04:59:23 PM »
A young collegue at my work heard me playing the classical radio station a few weeks back and next time we had to work together asked that it be left playing for the whole of our ten hour shift so he could get a sense of it.

Luckily for him the station changed some years back to playing only individual movements rather than whole works, so its more useful as a sampler and if there is something he might actively dislike it will be replaced in short order.

He had questions for me all through the night and it was unexpected just how little context he had fot the most basic assumptions about classical music performance I would previously thought were acquired through osmosis or films and tv even if you've never heard a whole symphony.

At one point he recognized a tune from an advertisement, I said it was Vivaldi, and much of our conversation was centered on Vivaldi. He was surprised to learn he died going on three hundred years ago and people were writing music back then. He said "So you haven't been to a Vivaldi concert, then". I said I'd been to many, and he honestly didn't understand how that was possible and I had to explain publishing and that most concerts are without the composer and using only the sheet music as their guide. At another point he looked up Vivaldi on Spotify and asked if these were Vivaldi's own recordings, and I had to explain that he died before recorded sound and how and when that technology happened. I showed him a portrait and again he was genuinely baffled that someone should look and dress so strangely.

I don't offer these anecdotes here to mock him, but to express my own surprise that its now possible to reach the age of twenty five with absolute zero context. I was given at least a sketchy outline at school. He tells me it was never mentioned.

My main advice was to treat it like getting into any other genre of music: don't treat it like homework - if you find something you like play more of that.

Very nice!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2021, 05:24:04 PM »
Very nice!

It was an interesting evening with a lot of conversation.

And I think I managed to avoid the various traps of snobbery, most dangerously when he said his dad was a big fan of Andre Rieu and how did I rate him? I delicately replied that its really a different genre closer to theater, all about putting on a show, nothing wrong with that, but classical was more about following the composers wishes faithfully, rather than bending them to the needs of the show.

Another thing he was completely unaware of was the number of countries classical music comes from, seeming to believe it was an Anglo thing. When I identified composers and their nationality he was continually surprised that they came from Russia, France or Germany.

Offline amw

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2021, 05:50:02 PM »
When I was about 15 I had a conversation with a guy in his forties about Bach's Goldberg Variations. Had to explain most of the basics: Johann Sebastian Bach was a guy who lived in Germany in the 1700s. He wrote this, uh, song for his student to play. It was commissioned by a rich nobleman at the time who wanted music to entertain him at night and who employed this student as a court musician. So this was Bach's student playing on the recording? No, he also died before recording technology was invented, but now modern-day performers play covers of the song, like in jazz. Oh, okay. [Despite this agreement I had to re-explain this point several times; the guy insisted he'd heard Beethoven conduct "Ode to Joy" once.] Isn't it weird that the student had a modern name like Goldberg way back in the 1700s? What do you mean by a modern name? I mean.... [several minutes of euphemisms follow, eventually leading to:] He was Jewish right? No, at this time Jews did not usually have surnames and were just named "Son/Daughter of [parent's name]"; this was a common German surname and Jews would later adopt it and others when trying to integrate better into European society. [Ok, I will admit 15-year-old me had the timeframe wrong on that.] Oh. You know, it's wild that we still have this song from the 1700s and know what it sounded like, from back when there were kings and aristocrats. Yeah, it's pretty wild. How long is this song anyway, it seems to have been going on for a while? It's about 80 minutes. Wow. That's insane. People were so different back then. He's really dead now? Etc.

Admittedly, this was rural New England and despite his age this guy had probably not been to college or even high school. But even people who have, didn't necessarily always take school seriously enough to remember much of what they learned.

In any case, I have no idea if he ever listened to any more classical music after this, but it was illuminating to understand the knowledge barriers people might face even if they do experience chance exposure to classical music and like what they hear.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 05:51:33 PM by amw »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2021, 02:08:51 AM »
Quite stunning. I would seriously not have expected such barriers and naively assumed that everyone knew that dead people's music was still played (like dead people's dramas such as Shakespeare's). And can one go through 10-15 years of education in a developed country and never have seen a picture some king or general or Newton in 17th-18th century garb and wig?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2021, 06:19:06 AM »
I have to say I was also pretty clueless about classical music until I started getting into it in the latter part of the 90's when I was already 25 or so. Maybe some people get great music education in school. I didn't, nor was I even that interested. I was into Math, Physics and visual arts in school. My father listened to jazz and it sounded so OLD to my ears! My attitude was that classical music is just too old music for modern ears, music from the time before electricity, transistors, computers, cars, microwave ovens, lasers, etc. I thought that someone having lived hundreds of years ago must have experienced the World completely differently from us and therefore music that mattered for them must have be completely different form the music that matters to us in a World where man has landed the Moon. In time I learned how this assumption is completely wrong, but people do have these strange false ignorant assumptions. For you it may be something else than music.

It was my best friend who got me interested of classical music in the university by hyping about how good Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet sounds. He played violin in the university orchestra and knew at least something about music theory while for me as simple concepts as chords where strange (yes, I was shocked to learn, that you can play several different notes at the same time forming chords). As people here may know, I have learned about music theory only recently, thanks to Youtube, and it has been a long journey. It is surprising to me how some people know music theory at the age of 15. Who is interested of Neopolitan chords and Species Counterpoint at that age? I was interested of Legos and Star Wars! Now that I am 50 and Disney has ruined Star Wars I am totally into music theory! It is really interesting!
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Online vers la flamme

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2021, 07:07:28 AM »
A young collegue at my work heard me playing the classical radio station a few weeks back and next time we had to work together asked that it be left playing for the whole of our ten hour shift so he could get a sense of it.

Luckily for him the station changed some years back to playing only individual movements rather than whole works, so its more useful as a sampler and if there is something he might actively dislike it will be replaced in short order.

He had questions for me all through the night and it was unexpected just how little context he had fot the most basic assumptions about classical music performance I would previously thought were acquired through osmosis or films and tv even if you've never heard a whole symphony.

At one point he recognized a tune from an advertisement, I said it was Vivaldi, and much of our conversation was centered on Vivaldi. He was surprised to learn he died going on three hundred years ago and people were writing music back then. He said "So you haven't been to a Vivaldi concert, then". I said I'd been to many, and he honestly didn't understand how that was possible and I had to explain publishing and that most concerts are without the composer and using only the sheet music as their guide. At another point he looked up Vivaldi on Spotify and asked if these were Vivaldi's own recordings, and I had to explain that he died before recorded sound and how and when that technology happened. I showed him a portrait and again he was genuinely baffled that someone should look and dress so strangely.

I don't offer these anecdotes here to mock him, but to express my own surprise that its now possible to reach the age of twenty five with absolute zero context. I was given at least a sketchy outline at school. He tells me it was never mentioned.

My main advice was to treat it like getting into any other genre of music: don't treat it like homework - if you find something you like play more of that.

As a member of this guy's generation I think I can safely say that this level of ignorance is a bit of an outlier, but I am glad you were able to spark somewhat of an interest with this conversation!

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2021, 05:28:55 AM »
Yeah, my daughter is a supervising social worker, but asked me the other week what a lentil was.

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2021, 05:41:58 PM »
Yeah, my daughter is a supervising social worker, but asked me the other week what a lentil was.

I'm a proud dad.

I probably never cooked lentils until moving away from home, but I'm sure I must have encountered lentil soup before that.

Reminds me that when pandemic first started in March of 2020 I was scrambling to stock up on pantry staples and grabbing anything I could find.  I still have some lentils from that time.  Time to make some for dinner...

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Introducing New Listeners to Classical Music
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2021, 04:36:50 AM »
I probably never cooked lentils until moving away from home, but I'm sure I must have encountered lentil soup before that.

Reminds me that when pandemic first started in March of 2020 I was scrambling to stock up on pantry staples and grabbing anything I could find.  I still have some lentils from that time.  Time to make some for dinner...
My mom came up with a quick cheat for dinner:

Take a can of lentil soup
Add a can of plum tomatoes (chop them up a bit)
Heat on stovetop
Just before serving, add some fresh spinach to it

Yum!

PD