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As a firm believer in early imprinting in the arts, I would recommend a hodge-podge of different approaches to introducing CM and the young to each other. Not in any order: exposing them to film/video soundtracks and suggesting that CM is or can be a place or way to further explore the sort of soundtrack music they really like. I loved as a kid the Richard Rodgers music for Victory at Sea--very stirring, and I wanted to hear more of such.

Pointing out that music they may hear in ads or as intro music for TV shows, etc., with examples, may be taken from CM--an example is the intro to Judge Judy episodes where we hear the opening 4 notes of Beethoven's 5th.

Playing for kids in the classroom bits of tone poems or ballet scores and asking them whether they hear in the music a thunderstorm (Beethoven, Grofe) and who did the more convincing job. Nightride and Sunrise suggests itself; also Villa-Lobos BB #2, more Grofe (On the Trail); which Rachmaninoff preludes and Etudes Tableaux sound the most like bells ringing. Hard to go wrong with The Nutcracker or Peter and the Wolf. Respighi offers many examples. It will take with those predisposed for whatever reasons to begin to like CM.
 

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One of the big problems is, to me, is that kids are already imprinting on the repetitive, rhythmic, three minute pop song complete with music video (because the song alone is perceived to lack the substance to entertain listeners). Also consider that kids have short attention spans that inhibit enjoyment of many Certified Masterpieces of CM.

By the time their attention spans get long enough to take in a four movement Romantic symphony, their brains have already been wired to appreciate songs pretty much exclusively.
I am an example of one. I grew up in a household where the day's pop music, Tin Pan Alley music, CM, Broadswy musicals, all were heard constantly. Get kids young enough and they are still open to all musical stimuli and will let CM be part of the mix. Short pieces or excerpts first, like bits of Peer Gynt, or Lt. Kije, or of Respighi. Over the years, the interest will (maybe) grow and the tolerance for longer works will also grow.
 

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As a teacher, I've been doing this for years, introducing classical music heavily into my music lessons. However, there's little interest in classical pieces amongst children these days. The kids don't dislike it (far from it) but they seem to like the throwaway nature of autotuned pop pap more readily. It may be formulaic crud but it's what they seem to get hooked on and desire more readily. Obviously some will branch out and make their way to CM eventually but it's getting harder and harder to convince kids that CM is valid and not music for dinosaurs, these days.
I applaud your teaching efforts. A question is how old are the students that you are interacting with. Age is key here, I think. I am talking the earlier the better before hormones and peer pressure kick in full time.
 

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Do kids, in general, develop their musical tastes really early? Is what their parents listen to at home the music that they listen to when they're 30? Does that music "plant seeds" so they get into it when they're middle-aged (not just admire it-- regularly listen to it)?

If not, that route will be mostly ineffective, too.
I would appreciate an answer to my question about the age of the kids you teach, I developed my musical tastes quite early, maybe about 4. As far as middle-age enthusiasm developing out of a pre-existing void, some research could come up with some data.
 

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The warhorses are warhorses for a reason-- they are appealing. In particular, they're safe bets for the demographic that goes to CM concerts (middle-aged and older people).

To grow its audience, orchestras would have to keep its main audience happy while attracting new concert-goers. If they totally switch gears, they could lose their reliable customers while not making up for it in new enthusiasts.
The population of white-haired audience members at concerts is thought-provoking. One solution that covers several bases is to program more rich and tonal 20th century music. Some examples: offering Brahms violin concerto and then Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra--people will have heard that Bartok is a well-known name and listen with some openness. Or Rachmaninoff and then Prokofiev's 3rd symphony. Or Beethoven's Emperor followed by Martinu's 1st symphony Mix it up but keep it tonal and with biggish name composers.
 

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The "audience" is one reason why teens and young adults won't go to a classical musics I indicated before, They aren't going to be financially and geographically inconvenienced when they can enjoy the music through modern technology. The only reason they're going to go to a concert is for the "audience" that will be part of the experience. It's for the purpose of getting wild and crazy. Unless you're going to have Yo-Yo Ma jump into a into a mosh pit, I don't see how you're going to get them to want to hang out with the "wine and cheese" crowd.
One path around this are the YouTube concert videos of CM. Essentially free, and with a happy conductor and a good band, lots of entertainment. I am a big fan.
 

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I teach primary age kids (5-11). I was playing a class of 5 year olds Beethoven's 4th quartet last week and the 10 year olds got the 2nd movement of Dvorak's American Quartet. Most thought the music was OK but no more.
My opinion (only an opinion) is that you are aiming too high. I think the examples I gave would be more eagerly received.
 

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Has anyone here mentioned Disney's classic Fantasia? Or did I miss it. A couple of viewings of Fantasia in schools (we used to have school-wide films in my schools in my youth) would or could provide the trigger for a lifelong interest in CM, even if the opportunities for immediate exercise of the interest were not available. I shall never forget the dinosaurs struggling across the landscape to the sound of the Rite of Spring, or the flying horses of the Pastorale, and Mickey with the brooms and pails. Schools too strapped for cash or personnel could make a yearly viewing of Fantasia a fixture of their calendar.
 

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A couple of thoughts: does anyone know if there are figures available for the demographics of classical listeners, not just concert goers?
Young people don't go out as much as they used to in general so I suspect that other forms of music aren't pulling in the numbers they used to for live performances either.
Attempts at encouraging the young by dumbing-down are doomed to failure. Better to present classical as something that is only for those hip enough to be in the know; self-consciously elitist.
In my opinion, this is an invitation for CM to commit suicide or to become a cult only for the cognoscenti. Some clearly want this.
 

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I will here again offer my support--in the face of past massive scorn and disapproval--for Andre Rieu and his like. Granted that he brings a light and airy mix of accessible music to a vast public, in that sense he can be sensibly regarded as a force for promoting or expanding the potential audience for CM, though most of that future audience may largely not be of the committed, earnest sort that some here seem to believe are the only fully worthy folk of the gift of CM.:rolleyes:
 

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In my experience Carnaval and Peter and the Wolf are distracting to young people because of their extra-musical allusions. I found it's better to give them Mozart piano sonatas or Chopin nocturnes etc.. And then if the melodies do nothing for them they're not ready to explore beyond familiar songs, for understanding and 'analyzing'. Because I think the goal is, as soon as possible, get them interested in the notes, instead of mind pictures.
I was captivated by Peter and the Wolf as a child, as it introduced the sounds of the various instruments and also because of its wonderful melodies, invoking all sorts of moods and emotions. Others have praised, correctly, Peer Gynt, and a lot of Respighi and Sibelius (tone poems) can also instill interest in further exploring classical music. One must first hook the fish, then one can worry about whether it is being cooked properly.
 

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I have a recording of Peter and the Wolf conducted by Andre Previn, and narrated by then wife Mia Farrow. The narrations caused it to really drag.
How old were you upon first hearing it? My first listening was when I was very young--the narrator was the British actor Basil Rathbone on 78s. Released 1941. Shown is the original album art; I remember it well

 

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Imagine how boring (irrelevant) or off-putting that would be to a typical 10 or 12 year old boy. We're the adults, we need to trick them! We know a little about what makes them tick. We might remember our own reactions at that tender age. Liking the simple yet poignant song Nowhere Man, Lennon, much more than any LvB symphony. (But what did we know..)
I was that 12 year old. The march from Love for Three Oranges was the theme music for a radio crime/detective series I heard on the radio. We know about the Lone Ranger and the William Tell Overture--it's now a legend among those old enough to remember. I recall my mother putting on the 78 of the Polovtsian Dances and the LP of Ravel's Daphnis, Suite #2. As you suggest, I am vividly remembering my own reactions at that tender age and much before. Powerful imprinting.

Were you raised in a musical household? I wonder.
 

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@fbjim: Excellent post. It would be interesting and possibly useful to create a video of as many examples as possible of where CM is or has been used in the wider culture. I offered before the fact that TV's Judge Judy's theme music are the opening notes of LVB's 5th symphony, the long history of the William Tell overture with The Lone Ranger radio program, and the March from Proko's 3 Oranges as theme for a radio crime drama. In addition there would many dozen ad background music examples, the Broadway musical Kismet, and film references; Proko's Alexander Nevsky only one example. Elvira Madigan Mozart PC reference. Popular songs that have mined CM melodies (Rach's Full Moon and Empty Arms). All embedded in the non-CM context This video to be shown where possible in schools or on public television or YouTube, with some serious advertising that People Will Love It! A modern-day Disney Fantasia, but more cool.
 
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