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Apr 02

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Appreciating Classical Music

New York City was long ago nicknamed “Radio City”. Growing up within the radio broadcast listening area of that great metropolis afforded me many options for listening to a wide variety of music genres. There were stations that played Jazz, Opera, Classical, and a plethora of ethnic and international styles in addition to the Pop Music of that era. In my parent’s home we usually had the radio tuned to a station that played classical music. It was a 24 hour a day classical station, as the New York market was large enough to support an audience day and night. Later in life my interest in classical music and opera grew. My taste for opera was largely fostered by listening to the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast live on Saturday afternoons. Live from the Metropolitan Opera is broadcast on affiliated stations across the nation. The program offers introduction to each weeks performance with detailed commentary about the story behind each opera. This link will connect you to their radio programs.

Many years later, I had an opportunity to work for the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera as well as the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It was there I enjoyed the benefit of free or discounted tickets to many performances. I sometimes had the good fortune to sit and listen to the pre-performance lectures that offered informative details related to the history of the music, how it was developed and some background on the composer.

Follow this link to read my very first blog post about travel to London, England and the lovely musical performance I enjoyed there.

I think all music is best appreciated from the perspective of a live performance. Symphonic music in particular is greatly enhanced when you experience it performed live! Seeing the different sections of the orchestra come together to create the complete musical landscape; hearing the sound of stringed instruments and discerning the subtleties between a violin, viola and cello; understanding the delicate airiness of woodwinds like flute and piccolo and contrasting that to the robust brass section of trumpet, trombone and tuba are examples that offer the listener a deeper appreciation of the music.

Opera is usually a performance of classical music with the addition of a story filled with action and drama. The vocals offer an enhancement to the musical score. They tell a story sometimes of love and betrayal or sometimes great tragedy. There are many operas that retell stories from classic mythology. Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of Nibelung) may be one of the greatest examples of this. Opera may leave less to the imagination, but can also render greater emotion for the audience.

Go read this article and learn about a very popular American Opera (there are not many) and here and here for examples of the Metropolitan Opera radio programs.

One of the most profound elements of classical music is its timelessness and universality. It has the power to attract listeners across generations and has been doing so for centuries. Classical music provides elevated listening pleasure to anyone willing to invest the time it takes to learn how to appreciate its tremendous value.

In addition to the pure sensory enjoyment gained from listening to fine music, there are important advantages associated with music in education. Counting, rhythm and detecting patterns are some of the elements of music that relate directly to mathematics. The American Mathematical Society shares some information on the topic of music and its relation to math. More from Live Science about the math – music connection.

It is clear that music, just like other forms of art (mentioned in the previous article), can be a powerful tool in the educators repertoire . Here is an article related to the importance of music in education. This short piece also explains the value of music especially in early childhood education.

The Telegraph of London offers this piece with advice on how to get into classical music.

And finally a short post over at the Art of Manliness asked readers for their thoughts on some of their favorite Classical Music. It may be a good starting point to investigate different pieces of music and begin your journey into the world of Classical Music.

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/appreciating-classical-music/

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