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How to listen to Classical music without turning into a snob

Classical music has a really bad image. Despite its widely touted benefits on brain development, most people don’t give classical music a chance. What with its predominantly “greyer” audience and concerts with decorum, it’s no wonder Classical music is often associated with snobs. That’s a shame, because brain development aside,  a lot of this music has survived the test of time for a reason.  Many of its rich melodies and complex harmonies are just downright awe inspiring. It comes as little surprise that Classical music is often used in all kinds of movies to enhance the quality of a scene.  In fact, you’ve probably listened to much Classical music unawares:  In Looney Tune’s cartoons, in commercials, in ceremonies, and even in pop music.

So, why not expand your family’s musical tastes just to see what happens?  Keep listening to your favourites (all music has value,) with a little mix of Classical thrown in.   Kids don’t have the same preconceptions about music as adults, so you may be surprised at their response.  Here are some tips on how to listen to classical music without turning into a snob.

1- Don’t listen to Classical music because it’s “good for you.” That’s like being forced to swallow cod liver oil; you’ll never enjoy it.  Don’t tell your kids it’s good for them.  It’s just music.

2- Don’t don a beret, wear a tweed blazer,  or smoke a pipe.

3- Don’t drag your  young kids to concerts, unless they are specifically geared for kids.

4- Don’t buy a subscription to the symphony right off the bat. If you like what you hear and are curious, ease your way into a few concerts.

5- DO:  Get your hands on some great “Best of” compilations of Classical music. There are many around, but my favourite is:  Absolute Classics. (available only at the library.)  See my previous post.

6- DO:  Get “My First Classical Music Book” with CD for your kids!!  This book is superb, because it introduces information about composers, pieces, and instruments with cute illustrations.  Each entry is matched with a track on the CD. Ages 4 and up.  Wonderful, wonderful, selection of short clips from Baroque to Harry Potter. Kids love this book!  Ages 4 and up.

7- DO: Get the CDs:  Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery. They’re cheesy for adults, but kids up to age 10 really like them.  They are part story part music, and the narratives are quite engaging.

8- DO: Keep an open attitude for you and the kids, and see what happens.

I promise your nose will not take an upwards turn.  As for the extra money you’ll have to set aside for tweed jackets, I assume no responsibility!

Let us know how it comes along.


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