Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 17 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Universities used to require students take humanities courses - to introduce students to the great works of art and music to students. Those days are long gone. All replaced with music appreciation for ABBA, Michael Jackson, Radiohead...
No they haven't. They have been replaced with coding, computer engineering, and hard sciences, by people who continuously devalue humanities courses because their view of higher education is as job training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
To be blunt, I think my statement that universities are now far more about extremely expensive job training is more supportable than "kids are learning Michael Jackson instead of Bach at music academies".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
To be blunt, that means you haven't looked at university course offerings in music.
And you haven't looked at the job market, or what college advisors are telling students. The focus is on job training. Any time public universities come in for funding cuts, the emphasis is on "workforce", as if the purpose of higher learning is to improve our workforce, and not educate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
An enormous amount of classical music was composed with the expectation that listeners would only hear the work a few times in their lives, and possibly only once, which does make the idea that classical music must be studied and immersed in with repeated listening very unusual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
How many people want to get into classical but don't because of "atonal"/"serial" junk? Like, this isn't 1950, does that even happen anymore?


e) I'm also constantly skeptical about the assertion (which has been going on for decades) that the kids simply have attention spans which are too short for art. One of the most growing forms of entertainment have been podcasts and streams which have durations of hours. I think it's less attention span and more that there's simply more competition for time, which cuts across all generations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I actually think that some people should be exposed to contemporary avant-gardism and the 20th century modernists more. I am pretty sure that there are people who'd be hooked by atonal music but not by Mozart or Bach. No one likes all rock bands or pop artists, but they've all heard more than one or two before making up their mind about the whole genre.

That's why I think that lack of exposure is a problem.
A friend of mine knows no classical music- they're an amateur electronics musician and jazz clarinetist- but they knew, and absolutely loved Gesualdo. you'd be shocked at how diverse the tastes of young people are - I actually think the stuffy image of it being "Vivaldi - The Four Seasons" all the time is more offputting than Webern, or whatever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Classical recordings, generally, are not newbie friendly. I think electronic music is the only other major genre which is comparably difficult when it comes to the variety of recordings out there, and the lack of any real organization of them (like electronic, classical is badly affected by most music services not letting you search by record label). There's really no other genre that has to contend with tons of competing recordings by different orchestras, not to mention historical recordings at various quality levels, curated playlists, etc. Spotify actually does have playlists for composers, but someone who "just wants to hear Bach" is going to have a hard time jumping in searching "Bach" on a streaming service, or - god forbid - searching "Bach" on Amazon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
It's really funny that the image of the close, studious concentrated listening, repeatedly studying pieces, etc- was basically impossible until the 20th century (when recordings became mainstream) outside of very specific cases. A lot of music and opera was written with the well-justified expectation that the audience would actually get to hear the piece a couple of times in their lives, if that!

That's not saying you shouldn't listen "studiously" but it should be clear that this kind of listening isn't the "intended" experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Incidentally, I started listening to classical music pretty much like this. I had a particularly hard time concentrating in a library one evening and thought that music might help. Because I cannot listen to vocal music when I'm trying to study, I thought I might as well put on some classical music (I only knew one violinist so it was pretty random music selection). But it was the beginning of my utter obsession with classical music. I still listen to classical music when I'm doing work because it helps me focus but it hasn't kept me from discovering a huge amount of different composers and works.

I think any kind of listening should be supported. If the person likes it, he will discover it further as you said yourself. It's better than nothing still.
It's how the radio worked for decades, after all. I have trouble with curated playlists like that because I never know if they're actually going to play interesting, under-recorded pieces, or if it's just going to be a bunch of Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
What do we mean "into classical music", anyway? A lot of average Joes don't even listen to music- in fact, historically, one of the most common "average Joe" opinions is decrying whatever the current state of popular music is!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
True, but that doesn't mean those "Joes" don't listen to music; they just don't listen to current popular music.

I have been a musician (mainly classical but also rock back in the 1960s and 1970s) for over 50 years. In talking with many people about popular music over those years, I have found that many, not all, tend to "carry through life" the popular music they listened to in middle school, high school and college. These people have little, if any, interest in contemporary popular music. Again, this is not the case with everyone, but it is true for many.

It is very rare to meet someone who doesn't listen to some kind of music.
While this may be true, if someone's tastes of music is mainly closed around records they liked back in the day, you'll have a very hard time getting them to listen to anything new- a lot of people simply don't have the patience, or inclination to critically evaluate new/unfamiliar works of music, because they simply want to listen to something familiar that they already know they love.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Most folks would find the critical evaluation of music an alien notion, even of the music they love.
"Critical evaluation" is me overstating it, I think - more that a lot of people simply don't want to listen to unfamiliar stuff that they don't know they'll like.

Which is a big reason the "canon" exists, actually. People have a limited amount of time and want to listen to "the good stuff".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
It's funny- I actually think good literature has a very similar problem as classical music, where people associate it with "homework" and dry high-school level analysis on "theme", when a lot of it is great literature specifically because it is wonderful to read. Similarly, a lot of classical music is great because it is great to listen to - you certainly can analyze and dive deep into music as much as you want, but when Beethoven wrote his symphonies, his intended audience was a bunch of people who were showing up to a concert to be entertained.

The one medium where this predominantly hasn't happened much is film- there's certainly a lot of "art film" that gets miscast as boring (I blame that chess scene in The Seventh Seal for mischaracterizing art film generally), but certainly you won't have a hard time getting people into, say, Hitchcock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I said "like Kubrick did". Meaning using the music of old composers as soundtrack. He used Shostakovich, Handel, Strauss, Beethoven, Rossini, Khachaturian and others. I got interested in Shostakovich because of Kubrick.
the first classical music album I actually bought was a compilation of tracks from Kubrick films that the Prague Symphony (?) did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I imagine the biggest determination is school funding. We had basic music classes growing up with a recorder and basic solfege, and as an elective in high school, but I imagine the reality in poor school districts are different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
If we ask CM enthusiasts in here, when did you begin your interest in CM? The age of 10 or 12 or 15? I think the college years is too late for most people. As the brain matures (they say not until 19(?)) these mysterious affinities and potentialities get pruned away. It's a natural process.

Are we doing anything about these losses? 'Not since the early 1960s.
Recently. I was a cellist from the age of 4 to the age of 18, and as with a lot of people who were pushed into classical music at a young age, I ended up despising it, associating it with endless hours of practice and frustration.

It was only recently (age 30) that I really started listening to it for pleasure.
 
1 - 17 of 28 Posts
Top