How to Start Listening to Classical Music and Enjoy It
The love of classical music is not dead; it’s still active in the sense that it is dying. To start listening to classical music, all you need to do is find some classical music stations on your radio apps, and start listening. Although this is a great first step, there are some other things you should consider while listening—for example, what was different about life during the time period in which the music was created? If we lived in the 1750s–1830s, when men wore fake luscious wigs and high heels, this would be our jam! First, you’ll need to change your expectations by allowing me to clear up some common myths.
1. The Paragraph of Truth.
Classical music is only boring to those who are uneducated in music theory—just as it would be for someone who doesn’t know what a first down is to try to watch football. Although it can be confusing, you’re in luck, because this foreign language can be translated, and you don’t have to take a music theory class. “Infamy!” you say. No, I assure you there is a cheaper way, and that is simply to learn to appreciate the music (and all music) for what it is.
2. Turn down (DJ Snake) for what?
Start with Beethoven. Go ahead, ease into the change in music. You don’t have to starve yourself of music you cherish by bringing on classical music that you abhor. Only a hardcore New Year’s resolution person would do that—don’t be that guy. Instead, decide whether you would prefer to listen to something you are familiar with, or whether you would fancy researching certain periods or composers. Follow up by listening to a recommended piece. In theory, it’s usually not a good idea to try anything too berserk, because that cute tune will be stuck in your head. All. Day. To be safe, a solid romantic symphony (Beethoven 7, or Mendelssohn 4, or Tchaikovsky 6) would do its genre justice. Below I inserted a link with a list of urls to get you started. Prepare to hate it, and then give in to its greatness.
3. Be picky.
Let YouTube act as your guide (living on the edge now, right?). I say this, because you are going to filter through so many recordings before you find the right sound quality. It would be silly to throw your money out the window (unless you have too much money in your bank account and have run out of ways to spend it; but if that’s the case, we should talk!). Make a list of the links to your favorite recordings, and buy them or if you are still indecisive, keep it a list and let time tell you which ones you adore.
4. Play it by ear.
Once you have a fabulous collection of songs, simply listen to them. And not just once, but perhaps six or seven times (an outrageous amount, I know), until you even allow yourself to entertain the thought of not liking it. Listen to the song all the way through: it’s a story, and the “chapters” (movements) need to be read in that order. Pride yourself in just getting a feel for what emotions and stories the composer is conveying.
5. Reflect (a mirror is not necessary).
Since you have listened to each song about seven times (honesty is apparently the best policy), you can probably pick out the prominent melodies now. Instead of hearing random sounds, you should be able to hear that the music does deliberately go somewhere, and tends to return back to where it started. Classical music will now start sticking in your head in the same way that popular pieces used to.
Snippets of Abstract Wisdom That Might Help
Just some food for thought: when and where you listen to classical music will affect your taste more than you think. When you first force yourself to listen to a piece, really invest in it, and rid the room of distractions. Listen for the melody and rhythm, and guess what emotion the song was written from. Visualize the story unfolding through the song, and trust your taste. If slow songs don’t strike your fancy, then listen to some fast-finger pyrotechnics! Don’t treat the music as a sidekick; let it be your priority when it’s on, at least when you first start listening to classical music. Closing your eyes or listening in the dark works miracles, which is obvious and yet seldomly exercised. Lastly, hit repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc. Repetition will encourage appreciation.
Classical music is the bomb.com. Agree? Disagree? Share your lovely thoughts or experience from your conversion!!
Featured photo credit: hrustallvia morguefile.com
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