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Thread: How do we bring back Classical Music for the Average Joe ?

  1. #151
    Senior Member Botschaft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    To hell with the average Joe, let's get specific here. I have three children (2 teenagers, 1 not quite) with basically no interest in classical music.

    (a) what is wrong with them?
    (b) what parental shortcomings have led to this situation?
    (c) how do I make them like classical music?
    (d) in what way will this make them better people?
    Have you exposed your children to music? If yes: have exposed them to classical music? If no: why not?

  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbjim View Post
    Because it provides things other forms of music do not. This is true of all forms of music - the "all things are equal" line people trot out as a pejorative doesn't mean that "everything is the same", it means that different forms of music have different aesthetic goals and merits, and that it's silly to e.g. make some kind of value judgment that appreciating a fugue has some sort of inherent moral or social value over dancing, because the goals of the music are incompatible.

    The idea that music should be judged aesthetically and not by moral or inherent "value" should be a motivation to find the things classical music does best, not to throw up hands and say "well why bother evaluating anything, then?"

    As an example, I think orchestral music in sonata form provide a form of purely abstract musical drama that is hard to match in other forms of music I've heard. That's absolutely a thing that classical music does wonderfully.
    I agree with much that you say - yes there are big differences in what different genres are trying to achieve - but I do think you get a bit muddled by your references to "moral and social value". I accept that you get different things from different genres but I don't think that means that you can't say one is somehow more valuable, more precious, than another. It may be difficult to argue it, particularly when you get down to specific cases, but that doesn't mean we should just give up. Classical music can be quite challenging when you first listen to it. Many of the key pieces are quite long and the impact they have for someone who has never heard anything like them before can be a little slow in coming. It takes effort.

    I think you should ask yourself why you need to refer to "moral or social value". It is clear that I am not talking about morality or society. I'm talking about aesthetics.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    To hell with the average Joe, let's get specific here. I have three children (2 teenagers, 1 not quite) with basically no interest in classical music.

    (a) what is wrong with them?
    (b) what parental shortcomings have led to this situation?
    (c) how do I make them like classical music?
    (d) in what way will this make them better people?
    You want answers!

    a) Nothing.
    b) None - they are teenagers and they should be doing the opposite to what you would like.
    c) Tie them up and blast it at them until ... . No, scratch that. Maybe they could find some peers on a social media site who enjoy classical music. I know Reddit was instrumental in my daughter coming to like it.
    d) It won't. But they do have a right to access the best music that the world has to offer.

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  5. #154
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    But they do have a right to access the best music that the world has to offer.
    Yes, but that is not limited to Classical Music. In fact, the "Average Joe" is probably already accessing some of best music that the world has to offer. He's probably been exposed to some Classical Music, but has found music he considers better, at least according to his taste.

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  7. #155
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    To hell with the average Joe, let's get specific here. I have three children (2 teenagers, 1 not quite) with basically no interest in classical music.

    (a) what is wrong with them?
    (b) what parental shortcomings have led to this situation?
    (c) how do I make them like classical music?
    (d) in what way will this make them better people?


    Teens are almost always more associated with whatever their peers are doing than anything else. I would expect your kids do not spend most of their time with peers that listen to, perform or are otherwise interested in classical music.

    If you want them to have some interest play the music at home. Even if they object they will have been exposed and it may or may not lead to something down the road. I lived in a household where my mother and sister played piano; that's how I got exposed to classical music ... along with church and school choir. Anything happening at home has the best chance of leading to success later.

    It is important because music, and especially classical music because of its complexity, teaches non-verbal problem solving skills that other endeavors do not. Popular music has value also but, because it is usually simple and strophic (three or four verses either all the same or three one way with one a variant), does not contain the same learning skills as classical music.

    This is the advantage of the so-called "Mozart makes you smarter" theory. It apples to all music, all art actually. Art creates synapses that help young minds expand and learn. Classical music does a better job of this than some other forms of art and does it differently than visual art.

    You could also take them to concerts that feature classical music, even band music.
    Last edited by larold; May-27-2021 at 18:37.

  8. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    But they do have a right to access the best music that the world has to offer.
    Well one is into Nirvana and another is into Hamilton so they're doing fine on that front.

  9. #157
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    My boys were raised on a lot of noisy rock and some classical music, when growing up. Now, one is into death metal, djent and technical metal, one is into grime, rap and 'urban' music and the other listens to anything. None of them dislike classical music but none really enjoy it. I suspect that my middle son may one day get the bug. He's a fabulous guitarist and he's started exploring classical guitar. When I die I'm leaving them all a Beethoven symphony cycle (they'll also get my 4TB hard drive and all my cds). One of them will take up the mantle (I hope).
    Last edited by Merl; May-27-2021 at 18:42.

  10. #158
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    My boys were raised on a lot of noisy rock and some classical music, when growing up. Now, one is into death metal, djent and technical metal, one is into grime, rap and 'urban' music and the other listens to anything. None of them dislike classical music but none really enjoy it. I suspect that my middle son may one day get the bug. He's a fabulous guitarist and he's started exploring classical guitar. When I die I'm leaving them all a Beethoven symphony cycle (they'll also get my 4TB hard drive and all my cds). One of them will take up the mantle (I hope).
    My son inherited my love for music, all kinds of music. We share some taste in music but he likes some stuff which I can't listen to, noise rock, Japanese metal. But he and I probably share more likes than dislikes. He got a degree in music, but also knows that Classical Music is just one kind of music he likes and doesn't consider it the "best" of all music.

    He grew up during the Hip-hop era, born in 1973, and I recently asked him for his list of the best rap songs. I am still going through it, but he is educating me on this music. He used to write for Pitchfork and has the curator/critic mentality.

    I really find the attitude of the supremacy of Classical music counterproductive and simply non-factual.
    Last edited by SanAntone; May-27-2021 at 18:47.

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  12. #159
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    My children heard a lot of classical music when growing up; all of them are now in their 40's. My oldest daughter loves music but not strong on classical; the younger daughter likes music a little. Oldest son likes pop music a lot; younger son doesn't care about any music at all. They have gone in their own direction, and I'm glad I didn't try to sway them toward any particular path.

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  14. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    But they do have a right to access the best music that the world has to offer.
    I agree that the best is in classical music. I've never found anything in non-classical that I believe to be on par with masterpieces such as a Bach's St. Matthew Passion, a Mozart's Requiem or a Wagner's Die Meistersinger. If someday I have children, I also hope that they enjoy the best music that the world has to offer.
    Last edited by Xisten267; May-27-2021 at 19:10.

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  16. #161
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    I am a member of the American Musicological Society and at the end of 2020 there was this, the transcript of which appeared in the latest journal:

    Colloquy: Shadow Culture Narratives: Race, Gender, and American Music Historiography


    On August 18, 2019, the New York Times published “The 1619 Project,” a multifaceted and far-reaching initiative to retell the nation's history starting not with the revolutionary events at the end of the eighteenth century but with the year the first African slaves arrived in the British colonies at the beginning of the seventeenth. The authors were all African Americans: Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, writers, artists, poets, professors, and photographers. The Times devoted the entire Sunday magazine to the project, printed related stories in other sections of the paper, and provided a link to free educational resources that are available to teachers interested in bringing the ideas and materials to their classrooms. With the support of individual and foundation donors, the newspaper printed “hundreds of thousands of additional copies” of the issue to get the message out.1 It appeared that something had changed nationally.

    Indeed, we feel that something is also changing in music scholarship. In this colloquy we add to the growing discussions and concerns about music that privileges whiteness at the expense of nonwhite racial, ethnic, and other wide-ranging identities. Educators in the disciplines of musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory have begun to raise questions not only about what is included in music canons, but also about the way such formations are constructed. With calls to decolonize the music history curriculum and to include narratives about music that were and are suppressed in much historical writing, both our textbooks and our scholarship are being queried.2 We recognize the ground-shifting changes these efforts signify and see the work presented here as forming a coalition with these new initiatives.
    I think the tide is turning and those of you holding to the preeminence of Classical Music are reflecting obsolete ideas and assumptions.
    Last edited by SanAntone; May-27-2021 at 19:11.

  17. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I am a member of the American Musicological Society and at the end of 2020 there was this, the transcript of which appeared in the latest journal:

    Colloquy: Shadow Culture Narratives: Race, Gender, and American Music Historiography

    On August 18, 2019, the New York Times published “The 1619 Project,” a multifaceted and far-reaching initiative to retell the nation's history starting not with the revolutionary events at the end of the eighteenth century but with the year the first African slaves arrived in the British colonies at the beginning of the seventeenth. The authors were all African Americans: Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, writers, artists, poets, professors, and photographers. The Times devoted the entire Sunday magazine to the project, printed related stories in other sections of the paper, and provided a link to free educational resources that are available to teachers interested in bringing the ideas and materials to their classrooms. With the support of individual and foundation donors, the newspaper printed “hundreds of thousands of additional copies” of the issue to get the message out.1 It appeared that something had changed nationally.

    Indeed, we feel that something is also changing in music scholarship. In this colloquy we add to the growing discussions and concerns about music that privileges whiteness at the expense of nonwhite racial, ethnic, and other wide-ranging identities. Educators in the disciplines of musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory have begun to raise questions not only about what is included in music canons, but also about the way such formations are constructed. With calls to decolonize the music history curriculum and to include narratives about music that were and are suppressed in much historical writing, both our textbooks and our scholarship are being queried.2 We recognize the ground-shifting changes these efforts signify and see the work presented here as forming a coalition with these new initiatives.




    I think the tide is turning and those of you holding to the preeminence of Classical Music are reflecting obsolete ideas and assumptions.
    Enjoying great music has nothing to do with racism or sexism, but trying to accuse those who like classical music of both can show one's biases and prejudices.
    Last edited by Xisten267; May-27-2021 at 19:17.

  18. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    I agree with much that you say - yes there are big differences in what different genres are trying to achieve - but I do think you get a bit muddled by your references to "moral and social value". I accept that you get different things from different genres but I don't think that means that you can't say one is somehow more valuable, more precious, than another. It may be difficult to argue it, particularly when you get down to specific cases, but that doesn't mean we should just give up. Classical music can be quite challenging when you first listen to it. Many of the key pieces are quite long and the impact they have for someone who has never heard anything like them before can be a little slow in coming. It takes effort.

    I think you should ask yourself why you need to refer to "moral or social value". It is clear that I am not talking about morality or society. I'm talking about aesthetics.
    Precious and valuable to who?

    To critics and musicologists? Maybe, sure. But most of us aren't critics or musicologists, we're listening for pleasure. And pleasure is utterly subjective, that something that's hard to debate, no matter what your views on intrinsic worth are.

    It's certainly true that some works are more "deep" and less accessible than others, but taking this as a measure for their value leads to weird conclusions in the classical music space. Bach is by most objective measures more complex than Schubert- but if a meteor strike were about to happen and I could only take one composer's records to the bunker, I might pick Schubert because I like his works better.

  19. #164
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    To put it another way, isn't it enough for classical music to stand on its own? Classical music is an enormous medium with nearly uncountable hours of enjoyment from listening - why worry, then, about existential questions of where it stands in comparison to other forms of music which have their own forms of enjoyment?

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    Moderator Nereffid's Avatar
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    Given the content of some posts above, we have moved this thread to the Politics and Religion in Classical Music forum.

    In the opinion of the moderating team, "white privilege", and anything associated with it, falls under politics. However, we realize that this might not be clear to everyone, so we decided moving the thread rather than editing out the political part or preventing further discussions would be the sensible thing to do.

    As the topic of race and racism is potentially inflammatory, all posters should be particularly mindful of the Terms of Service in such discussions. The moderators want to allow these discussions when they're in the appropriate place, but we also want to ensure that a civil atmosphere is maintained.

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