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When I was young (the 70s and 80s) classical music was certainly being marketed as accessible to everyone. My first proper introduction to classical music was through the widely advertised CD compilation "The Classic Experience" of 1988. Then there was the Three Tenors in 1990... The UK's first commercial radio station, Classic FM, launched in 1992 to much success and now has about 6 million listeners, which sounds impressive until you realise that means 90% of the country doesn't listen to it. Plus its playlist consists of only that portion of the classical repertoire that won't frighten off a general audience.

The average Joe is getting on just fine without classical music - and, realistically, vice versa.
 

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Some people find it rewarding to listen to, others are not interested in it - the same is true for all genres.
This seems the obvious answer to me. I got partly interested in classical as a teenager - which is to say I owned a handful of cassettes - and got more seriously interested at about age 19. My father had enough interest to have about 30 LPs, but until then I had never bothered to listen much to them, other than being curious about "The Planets" as a 10-year-old Star Wars fan. Neither of my siblings had or has an interest in classical, and actually I just have more interest in music per se than they do. My three children all have different tastes in music, and none of them are interested in classical even though they hear me play it a lot.

"Access" definitely isn't the issue - not when it meant a record player and a few dozen LPs in the corner of the sitting room, and certainly not now in the days of Spotify. Some people are just inclined to explore music outside the basic mainstream, and some of them are inclined to be particularly interested in classical.
 

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Access is not such a simple thing. You can have all sorts of recordings and still not have the inclination or interest to explore what is on them. Classical music often requires some "work" to really get down to what it can do to you. This is not true of most popular forms of music. If you have been conned into thinking they are all of equal value then why would you bother?
When I first became interested in classical music I had no desire to put any "work" into it, in fact I wasn't aware that I would be required to do any work. I was attracted by things like the 1812 Overture, Bolero, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, etc. I didn't think "this is better than the other music I listen to"; I thought "this is as enjoyable (but in a somewhat different way) as the popular music I listen to". The "work" I put in subsequently was just a continued expansion of what I was interested in so that it included a vast range of music, along with the natural increase in understanding that comes with sustained enthusiasm.
 

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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?
 

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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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I recall there was a whole separate thread about classical music being racist and whatnot that millionrainbows started. I recall him making very similar arguments about diversifying our music education. However, I'm not quite sure if the topic is that relevant to the current discussion and was discussed has been discussed in a great length already.
(Wearing both moderator & poster caps in this answer) I don't think talking about racism is useful to the discussion here. But what is potentially relevant (if posters want to discuss it!) is the idea that reducing the overall "whiteness" of classical music would make it more appealing to the average Joe, who is, I suppose, not as white as he used to be.
 

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Here is some new music I find very exciting.

Les Filles de Illighadad - Irriganan

Excellent! Mrs Nereffid likes desert blues (so do I, but she listens to it more than I) but I don't think she knows this group.

There's a lot of music the Average Joe knows (or cares) nothing about. My wife has no connection with the Sahara - she's from Connecticut, with an ancestor on the Mayflower! - but she loved this kind of music as soon as she heard it. Exposure certainly helps, but ultimately I think it's just pot luck as to what music "sticks", and to what degree.
 

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I know most Classical music fans don't care the various influences that created Western Classical Music. Which is a willful blindness since it allows the idea that Classical music has nothing to do with the music of Africans, or Arabs, or slaves, and other outsiders, or vernacular music in general. And it is no accident that those musics are usually seen by Classical Music fans as inferior to Classical music which they think of as more complex, more sophisticated, and better in general.
But it's worth noting that most classical music fans don't care about early music either - for them, classical music begins with Bach. So by the time the complex, sophisticated, better (as far as they're concerned) stuff comes along, the African or Arabic influence isn't relevant.
 

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Well now, this is interesting because it seems like a positive report but what do TC's members think about this list of the top 10 classical artists in the UK?

1. Ludovico Einaudi
2. John Williams
3. Andrea Bocelli
4. Max Richter
5. Luciano Pavarotti
6. Ólafur Arnalds
7. Ramin Djawadi
8. Lindsey Stirling
9. Gavin Greenaway
10. Yann Tiersen

Or these comments about the rise in Deezer playlists:

"the most notable trend is a surge of younger listeners, particularly in mood and relaxation Classical music."

"CALM PIANO focuses on "piano music to stay focused, calm down, or meditate". It features music by artists such as Nils Frahm, Ludovico Einaudi and Max Richter."

"CLASSICAL FOR SLEEP saw a huge increase in listening during lockdown. In March, there was a 284% stream increase of this playlist in the UK compared to the month before."

or my favourite:

"CLASSICAL GOES POP offers "Classical versions of your favourite pop hits". It breaks the misconception that Classical must only feature classic pieces and resonates particularly with younger fans. ... Its most popular track globally in the past year was a cover of Ed Sheeran's Perfect by the duo 2Cellos."
 

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More people should listen to classical music.
Data says they are.
No, not like that!
It is pretty funny that in the epic, decades-long battle between the "modern classical music is great" people and the "modern classical music is hardly even music" people, the winner could turn out to be a third group that's just showed up and changed the definition of classical.
 

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A related issue that puzzles me is the snobbishness about figures like John Williams. Or indeed what might be wrong with someone composing variations on Eleanor Rigby, say. If an orchestral showpiece based on Star Wars themes interests people, and they are also lured into long-standing classical pieces by their use in film soundtracks (say Also Sprach Zarathustra), then they may or may not explore further. Either way that's not a bad thing for the survival prospects of the classical tradition. Similarly, if hits from singers with an operatic style gain traction, and that acclimatises people to that style then fine, and it may or may not boost the appeal of opera.

If classical music is to be brought back to the Average Joe then I can't see what is bad about music which is a hybrid that many Joes may like, and which may lead some to explore more "old school" classical music.
I don't think there's anything new going on here, either. There's long been a disconnect between the "general public" audience for classical and the more dedicated listeners. To make a generalisation, the former prefer Finlandia and the Moonlight sonata, the latter prefer Sibelius's 6th and the Hammerklavier. Today's film composers and the likes of Einaudi or Frahm occupy the same kind of niche in which we once found Albert Ketelbey or Leroy Anderson. The difference I think is that the gap between those composers and mainstream (or, to be harsh, "dead") classical music is wider than it was 60 years ago, in as much as Ketelbey or Anderson could be dismissed as light classical, whereas today's bunch are dismissed as not classical.
 

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"Access" nowadays is going to Spotify and typing the search term "classical music". That's all that's needed.

I tried it just now. The top result was an album from the London Philharmonic called "The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music". This is essentially the kind of compilation that first drew me to classical - "Morning" from Peer Gynt, the first movement of Beethoven 5, Vivaldi's "Spring" etc etc. For many people this single collection will be both the start and the end of their journey. But anyone who's genuinely curious can explore from there, much more easily (and cheaply) than I did in the pre-Internet days.
 

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What if I heard from a friend that "Bach" is his favorite composer? I shudder to think what you'd get if you just went on Amazon and typed "Bach".
Here's what happens when I type "Bach" into Spotify:

"Top result": Johann Sebastian Bach

"Songs": the 4 tracks listed are all from "Harnoncourt conducts Bach".

"Featuing Johann Sebastian Bach": Four Spotify-curated playlists: "This is Bach", "Johann Sebastian Bach radio", "Chilled Instrumental", "Bach Concertos".

"Artists": the first two listed are JS and CPE.

"Albums": The 5 that appear first are the violin concertos from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the cello suites from Yo-Yo Ma, two-piano concertos from Lucas and Arthur Jussen, the Goldbergs from Lang Lang, and the solo violin works from Augustin Hadelich.

Let's click on the playlist "This is Bach". The description is "He perfected counterpoint, set the bar for cello suites, and absolutely loved a curly white wig: JS Bach played a huge part in shaping all the classical music we enjoy today. Discover why, right here." The playlist is 70 tracks (looks kind of like a random selection), about five and a half hours worth of music, from well-known artists.

All anyone needs to do is click "play". I don't buy this "oh, it's so complicated" thing. If people truly like the music they'll put in the little bit of effort needed to get a handle on it.

Now someone with a popular-music mindset of there being a canon of recordings comes in and there are 5000 Mozart collections and no clue which ones are "the good stuff".
But they're not going to care. The notion that you should get this performance and not these other hundred performances is a barrier that most potential listeners aren't even aware of. They won't know that they should listen to "Glenn Gould, Roselyn Tureck and Edwin Fischer" (to quote the first result when I Googled "great Bach pianists"), they're going to see Lang Lang's Goldbergs and think "I think I've heard of him", or see Vikingur Olafsson's album and listen to that because it's got a cool-looking cover.
 

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there are many people who greatly enjoy music but have never tried classical music and don't know how to try
:confused:
Surely you just listen to it?

I'm genuinely baffled by this. Is there some other way, other than listening to one piece of music and either liking it or disliking it, and then doing the same for a bunch of other pieces of music until you've decided whether it's worth continuing?
 

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Some I know well enough that they have tried a piece - once - but not been impressed (why would they be?). It is too pretty or sounds like film music or it lacks guts or .... .
The report linked by robertzombie above strongly indicates that many people are getting into classical music because it's pretty or sounds like film music. So there's clearly no one-size-fits-all approach to any of this. I'm sceptical about whether "it's too elitist" is still a widespread belief - it was probably true 30 or 40 years ago when I started listening, but these days there's a lot more emphasis on classical being relaxing or as background music for studying or exercise, in the UK there's Classic FM with its "smooth classics" and Scala Radio with plenty of film and video game music, and so on. In this thread the suggestion that classical should be regarded as just one of many genres has been argued against, but surely that's a way of making it seem less intimidating.

Do you really think that all it takes is for someone to pick a piece at random, press play and after 30 minutes they love it? Perhaps when they don't love it you will say that it was just not for them?
Well obviously it depends on the piece and the listener, and you've changed my "like" to "love". And I don't know what you mean by "at random" - as in, put the entire corpus of classical music on "shuffle", or arbitrarily choose one of the standard "entry pieces"? But if someone is genuinely open to listening to classical music, why would they give up after one track, or 30 minutes? I mentioned earlier in the thread the compilaton "The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music". I'm inclined to believe that if someone listens to the first 30 minutes - certainly the first hour - and finds no reason to listen to anything more, then yes, mainstream classical probably isn't for them.
 

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It's hard for me to go along with the arguments that what's needed is better music education for children, because I had essentially none, aside from having to learn hymns for religious services, and a couple of years of piano lessons I never enjoyed and never associated with "classical music" anyway. Given that Gargamel above is apparently appalled at having had to listen to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, which was one of the pieces that attracted me to classical in the first place, I'm leaning very much towards the idea that, when it comes to getting any given individual interested in classical, as William Goldman put it, "nobody knows anything".
 
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