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How to get into music, help!
#2331317 09/26/14 05:12 PM
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Hi,

I lent my friend a disc of Rach 3, they didn't like it.

She doesn't have any musical training, doesn't know the first thing about anything piano or classical. Never heard of any of the main composers bar Mozart, Beethoven.

How do I get her into music?

I played a few pieces to her this afternoon which are very atmospheric and profound. I don't think she 'got it' and I was playing with all the nuance and shadings I am capable of.

She seemed none more impressed whether a difficult piece or an easy piece, is this normal for someone who has never really listened to classical before?

Dismissing some wonderful moments of sound to ones ears I don't understand how this is possible...help please!


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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331319 09/26/14 05:17 PM
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I'm sure someone has studied this and written about it.

For what it's worth, I believe listening to music is like viewing art or reading literature or tasting wine.

If the palate is uneducated, it's hard to make distinctions between what's good/liked and what's bad/disliked.

Supposedly Ulysses S Grant only recognized two tunes: "Yankee Doodle" and everything that was not "Yankee Doodle."


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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331323 09/26/14 05:27 PM
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I find it hard to believe someone can't get into some of Chopin's or Mozart's finest.

then again, people enjoy music for many reasons, least of all for music itself. which is why they can stand noise and even believe they like it...


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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331324 09/26/14 05:31 PM
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Yes, I think so, good point. But what you hear straight away you should tell if you like immediately.
I just don't get how someone can not love on first listening some most highly emotionally charged most tuneful melodies that exist. Are they just empty? Or have not just ever listened to stuff like that before.



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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331327 09/26/14 05:58 PM
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Why not try her on a variety of music? People brought up on noisy rhythmic stuff today may prefer the more elemental percussive music like Bartók's Sonata for 2 pianos & percussion or Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. (The equivalent in piano music might be the finale of Bartók's Piano Sonata, and Stravinsky's 3 Movements from Petrushka).

On the other hand, the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony (or Barber's Adagio for Strings) might be a way in if luscious string sound tickle their fancy. ("Movie music" etc....)

If she's heard of Mozart and Beethoven, how about trying her on the first movement of Mozart's 40th Symphony, or Beethoven's 5th, or the Emperor concerto?
(Or.....play her Für Elise or Rondo alla turca wink ).

Or Ombra mai fu, or Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, or O mio babbino caro.....

Over the years, I've introduced many people to classical music via lecture-recitals and 'straight' piano recitals - the vast majority of them, if they've heard classical music before, only via TV commercials and movies. I've always been pleasantly surprised at how so many of them come to me afterwards to ask me what I'd played, in order that they may get a CD or download of it, or just listen to it again on YouTube. I play anything from Bach to Bartók, via Beethoven and Brahms, plus my own arrangements of operatic arias or symphonic movements or Lieder. There is almost always something classical that someone will like - if only they get to hear it.

I remember one occasion when I played my own transcription of La ci darem la mano, then the slow movement of Mozart's K467 followed by The Entertainer to show how Mozart makes use of 'blue notes' to heighten emotion. A man came to me afterwards to say that he'd never realized before that there was a connection between Mozart and ragtime....... grin


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331330 09/26/14 06:02 PM
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First of all, your friend won't give one iota about anything classical unless he/she already loves music. Secondly, if they genuinely love music, show them the 'hits' first. If they're meant to enjoy classical music, you won't have to pursue it any further.

Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331338 09/26/14 06:22 PM
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I have tried for 40 years to get family members interested in classical music in general and classical piano music in particular. But I realise that this is never going to happen. The closest I ever came was some Mozart pieces which seemed to catch a little interest. But Stravinsky or Bartok - no way. The only music that is accepted is country, gospel and pop-music. Everything else is "fine culture" and as such of no interest.

I have accepted this situation, and do my piano practice with headphones and listen to my favourite music when I'm on my own. Not a good solution, but possible to live with.

Re: How to get into music, help!
Ganddalf #2331341 09/26/14 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ganddalf
The only music that is accepted is country, gospel and pop-music. Everything else is "fine culture" and as such of no interest.

Not even 'Morning Mood' or Solveig's song from Peer Gynt?? wink


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331348 09/26/14 07:42 PM
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Try this. Have her actually listen to the music and feel the pulse. Encourage her to feel the pulse in her body and let her torso respond to the music. If her body never responds to the music, she will never get into it.

"Nuance" and "shadings" aren't what the general audience experiences when the listen to the music. It's like the last 1 to 5% the vast majority actually listen to. Yet for some reason that is 80% of what we are neurotically taught to to be obsessed about and focus on when we practice.

In a rock concert, does the audience sit still, passively absorbing the music? NO. They feel free to to be uninhibited and naturally respond to the music. Almost as it they become part of the performance themselves.


Last edited by anamnesis; 09/26/14 07:47 PM.
Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331355 09/26/14 08:04 PM
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I've developed sympathy for people who aren't into classical music by observing my own reactions when my daughter urges me to listen to some of "her" music. A lot of the time I'm just not in the right frame of mind to focus on unfamiliar sounds. It can feel like too much stimulation, or the wrong kind. So it can seem irritating, even if in itself it's good.

I'd suggest introducing the music in a less pressured way than "listen to this, what do you think?" Play it as background while you're doing something else. Let her get used to it and absorb it at her own pace.

I saw something go by recently about the role of repetition in music. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I think the gist is that a bit of familiarity opens up our ability to recognize and appreciate.

So Ganddalf, I'm thinking maybe you should lose the headphones sometimes and let the sound seep into their ears. smile


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Re: How to get into music, help!
jdw #2331385 09/26/14 10:25 PM
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This may be the wrong place to get advice. 80% of Piano World loves classical music. She obviously doesn't now and probably won't ever. There are reasons that classical music has about a 1% commercial market share, and it isn't about conspiracies.

With all that, if the person has some time, and some curiosity, it might be helpful to watch the Youtube series from the BBC "How Music Works." The videos cover a lot more than classical, but might get a person interested in music as a topic and give some of the masterpieces a historical context. The downside might be that some people are even more bored by history, music appreciation and anthropology than classical music.

And yes it is normal for most people not to be able to tell much difference. Most of the general public, and many amateur musicians can't tell the difference.

Re: How to get into music, help!
jdw #2331477 09/27/14 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jdw

I saw something go by recently about the role of repetition in music. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I think the gist is that a bit of familiarity opens up our ability to recognize and appreciate.


For me, repetition has always been, by far, the most important factor in learning to hear music that wasn't making sense to me at first. Which could be anything from Renaissance choral polyphony, to Bruckner, to more contemporary stuff like Xenakis, Lachenmann, and Babbitt.

The trick that works for me is to avoid focusing too hard on the music, but have it just play in the background once in a while. Inevitably, it will suddenly "click" for me.

But, I have to actually want to get to know and enjoy the music for that process to work, and I think many people who either have trouble with classical altogether, or who may like classical generally but have trouble with certain composers or genres, simply haven't got the motivation to get past their initial dislike or indifference. Many people don't particularly like having their horizons broadened, after all, and are perfectly happy to stick with the kind of things they already know.


Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331479 09/27/14 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by daoc2009
Yes, I think so, good point. But what you hear straight away you should tell if you like immediately.
I just don't get how someone can not love on first listening some most highly emotionally charged most tuneful melodies that exist. Are they just empty? Or have not just ever listened to stuff like that before.



At the risk of stating the obvious - most people have never heard a piece of music that lasts more than a few minutes. The Rach 3 does go on. And on. And on. And much of it, to someone not used to listening to classical, must be like some kind of dreary meaningless babble that just won't stop.

If you really want to lead somebody into enjoying classical, I'd think the first thing to do would be to find out what sort of music they already enjoy, and try to make connections to that.




Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331494 09/27/14 08:22 AM
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Hello, I was drawn into a classic music by this video: [video:youtube]http://youtu.be/UHd8jwXBzXE[/video] and then by her other videos mainly Chopin Nocturnes. I have never been listening to classic music before but Since then I am listening only classic. I think it helps a lot seeing how a music is made - the connection between hands and sounds. But the main factor in my case was that I have just started to learn piano playing. Probably everyone has to find his/her way to a classic music.

Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331512 09/27/14 09:23 AM
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If she watches movies (and I think she probably does) try playing pieces from something she likes. It's a place to begin, then you can try some other, maybe similar, pieces.

Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331550 09/27/14 11:03 AM
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If all else fails, get a new friend!

Cheers!


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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331601 09/27/14 12:32 PM
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My family is also very much like this. I was raised until the age of 9 in a church that did not allow musical instruments of any kind, but did a LOT of a cappella 4 part singing Example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z8Il7DldWY

That was the only music I knew until leaving, and it took me quite a while to learn to enjoy other types. After me playing classical music for over 2 years, my mom is just starting to be able to enjoy non-vocal music. (My parents and I still sing together to way we used to there, and enjoy it very much)

Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331603 09/27/14 12:39 PM
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I agree with jdw, better not to "force" someone, even if with good intentions.

Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331623 09/27/14 01:40 PM
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Sounds like a new girlfriend! ;-) seriously though, try starting her on those "popular" classical pieces that she may recognize from television, movies, and, yes, those Saturday morning cartoons that many of us grew up on. Then build from there. My knowledge of classical is quite limited, I'm embarrassed to say, but when I hear Wagner's "Cry of the Valkeries" I think "Apocalypse Now." When I hear Beethoven's "Morning" [? (Maybe someone can help me there)], I think Foghorn Leghorn. It will be easier to build appreciation from pieces she's already heard. Upon writing this, I think I'm going to take my own advice!


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Re: How to get into music, help!
daoc2009 #2331872 09/28/14 12:17 PM
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In his book Musicophilia, the neurologist Oliver Sacks describes a condition called amusia--an inability to discriminate pitches. Many sufferers of amusia describe music as unpleasant. Others simply refer to it as noise and find it annoying. I haven't met anyone with amusia but I met someone at Tanglewood once who said his wife hated music of all sorts. It was, for her, a source of irritation. Perhaps she had amusia and perhaps the OP's friend does as well.

Last edited by Copake; 09/28/14 06:01 PM.
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