The current state of classical music, part 2 (Continued)

April 3, 2008 at 12:36 AM · Can't let Part 2 go by without adding something: So there are a couple of rock-n-roll songs that aren't in 4/4 time......I stand corrected.

Replies (70)

April 3, 2008 at 01:05 AM · Yes, but the true question is: are there any that aren't in 4/4 time and actually have rhythms more complicated than that which a four year old Japanese pianist can handle?

Classical music is struggling, there is no doubt, but on the high-end of classical music, is there much struggle? I mean orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic. Are the world's most major orchestras also struggling? The star soloists still are able to sell out the entire concert hall, so I am not sure if it's fair to say classical music is dying, so much that the lower and mid-range of the art is struggling big time, while the high-end holds quite a bit of wealth.

April 3, 2008 at 01:27 AM · Sandy and Jake,

When you realize intelligent people do intelligent work, regardless of the field they're in, a whole new world will open up for you.

April 3, 2008 at 02:58 AM · Smart drug dealers impress me no more than smart ant-eaters.

Just try to bring out the best you are capable of:)

April 3, 2008 at 02:17 AM · Jim, let me clarify.

I don't think we suffer from the music of the sixties. We suffer because in the sixties, the best and brightest of an entire generation proclaimed that rock was the music it identified with -- and ever since, the political left wing has identified with rock and drawn away a lot of people who would otherwise have been more drawn to classical music.

Personally, although I don't enjoy rock I have a healthy respect for it and lots of admiration for countless dedicated and accomplished rock artists. Don't forget that I founded the "Strings Without Boundaries" music camp here in Pittsburgh which teaches rock for strings, as well as jazz, fiddling and world music.

April 3, 2008 at 02:28 AM · Roy, I didn't think that Rock music was contemporary any longer. I thought that in the realm of popular music it has become "classical" and the popular music of the day is now hip-hop and techno in all its various forms. In fact many rock pieces of the 1960s and 1970s are now called "classics". This also means that hip-hop and techno is now more popular amongst the young generation, while rock and rock'n'roll is more and more considered something for old folks, some parallels to classcial classical music, I reckon.

April 3, 2008 at 03:08 AM · Jake,

Every orchestra in the United States is struggling, and to a lesser extent every orchestra in the world. You are right, of course, that the top tier of orchestras has more wealth and resources, but every orchestra is finding it harder and harder to fill the hall. Also every orchestra is finding it harder and harder to get the foundation support and private donations it needs. Outside of the US the situation is somewhat different because orchestras are government supported, but even in Germany, government support is not as easy and plentiful as it used to be.

There are many contributing factors. Perhaps the most important is the dearth of new music that appeals to a broad public.

Another factor is that since 9/11 a lot of foundation money and government money and also a lot of private donations that used to go to the arts, are now going humanitarian causes.

The classical recording industry is dead. Tower Records, Oasis, and Sam Goody are gone. Even the very top orchestras are recording a miniscule fraction of the amount they were recording ten and twenty years ago. An orchestra that wants to record has to subsidize the recording itself, even with the new lower recording scale which was finally agreed to by the dinosaurial A.F.of M.

The number of star soloists who can guarantee a sold out hall gets smaller and smaller. In most cities you can count those superstars on the fingers of one hand. And their fee is so high that a sold out hall does not cover it.

If you're really interested in this topic let me recommend "Classical Music in America -- A History of its Rise and Fall" by Joseph Horowitz. An important book of great depth and insight into the state of the art today and how it got there.

April 3, 2008 at 04:22 AM · Jake,

Complex rhythms actually are one of the major characteristics of African and African-derived music. My guess is that you and I are so used to hearing it, we don't always realize how syncopated many songs are. It was a much bigger deal when folks were hearing 'ragtime' with fresh ears (just as Beethoven's structural innovations don't sound unusual to us). And of course, ragtime and blues are the heritage of jazz, R&B, rock, and probably rap too (one scholar traces it back to African oral poetry).

Wikipedia says: "Syncopation is used in virtually all contemporary popular music" and the article submits for consideration "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" with notation. Off the top of my head, allow me to suggest also "There She Goes" by The Las or Sixpence None the Richer, among others. How would your four-year-old Japanese pianist handle those, never having heard them before?

April 3, 2008 at 03:58 AM · Mr. Sonne,

I remember reading how much it frustrated Maestro Jansons that they weren't filling the hall. Obviously, that was several years ago. Fortunately the PSO's audience at WVU seems appreciative (I wish we students could get them to our concerts in those numbers!). Do you suppose the orchestra is taken for granted? Because for us, it ordinarily means three hours round trip in the car.

April 3, 2008 at 03:42 AM · I still say it comes back to a feeling of usefulness, or value. Why the heck play classical music? It seems almost absurd to a lot of people these days. You've only got to watch a few short moments of Lang Lang playing Tchaikovsky with the Berlin Phil on the TV, while flicking channels (assuming, for the sake of illustration, a channel surfing non-classical person) to immediately see that 'classical music' is some kind of rapturous expression of some sort of vision do you put it? Corwin came up with the word divine but was criticized for it. A higher ideal, or something spiritual, and inherently good rather than the alternative - even during more sombre moments in the music.

It was this sense of something "higher" (I'll go no further, philosophically) that seemed to have been pushed aside in the sixties, and around then. This is what Roy is referring to also, I think.

April 3, 2008 at 04:07 AM · Hey, how about the American Idol orchestra? Violins are good enough for their pop sensibilities. Maybe we should write and tell them to keep it up.

April 3, 2008 at 03:47 AM · Jon,

So what do you make of the turn to eastern religions,pacifism, soul searching and avid interest in a personal experience of the divine that was such a part of that generation's music and philosophy? Actually, I think you're 180 degrees turned around here- That generation turned away from what it saw as corrupt and meaningless institutions in search of authentic and immediate experience of the divine. Because classical music was seen as a tool or expression of the corrupt elite, the revolutionaries of the 60's had no choice but to look for their anthems elsewhere.

April 3, 2008 at 12:29 PM · Roy if the best and brightest went into it, it might mean something. I don't want to come across as the champion of rock. I took ten years of violin lessons and got to some kind of half-hearted semi-pro classical performing level and switched gears. I don't spend much time listening to music. When I do, it's usually real selective and for some purpose. I played guitar in rock bands all through school. My favorite music now is primitive and untrained people and if they write good songs, that ability blows my socks off like nothing else. That's music from the soul, with very few trappings, trappings that are the real reason a lot of people involve themselves with music, be it gangsta trappings, or white tie trappings, or got to be like the "best people" trappings. But the trappings are part of a social function of music that's one of its great powers. If I could go back, I'd want to meet these people in order of preference - Bach, Woody Guthrie, Beethoven :)

PS Sandy,

I like you, so I found the 50s record I mentioned in the other thread. Three of everything over four. You hated it back when, you can hate it again :)

April 3, 2008 at 04:38 AM · I totally disagree with the statement that a notion to "push aside the sense of something 'higher'" in the 60s. I think the opposite is the case, the 60s were about a rebellion against the corrupt which was very much led by the sense of achieving something higher or better, both practically as well as spiritually. Consequently, the music of the 60s is rather more rebellious in nature. This can even be observed in modern classical music of the time.

April 3, 2008 at 05:31 AM · Jim, do you have to pull your socks when you hear the sobbing and wailing in hospitals or funerals?

April 3, 2008 at 05:52 AM · Twenty years ago I vowed to myself never to destroy anybody's world again, because I can't give them a replacement :)

April 3, 2008 at 05:58 AM · When you are so serious, it's kind of scary. What happened 20 years ago?

ps. Twenty years ago the world changed on my too. I came to Canada as a new immigrant. It was sunny and the air and the blue sky shouted freedom and human dignity. I could listen to any music I wanted and read any books I could get my hands on.

April 3, 2008 at 06:00 AM · What's your escape story? You pretty much had to defect back then, or I think you could be a student and decide to not go back.

April 3, 2008 at 06:00 AM · Your story first.:)

April 3, 2008 at 06:14 AM · I can't remember. It was more like sixty years ago, really.

April 3, 2008 at 06:25 AM · Ahhh, I can remember just like it was yesterday but not a lot to tell, really.

April 3, 2008 at 11:14 AM ·

Here's an interesting list of works in non-4/4 time signatures. This list includes Sting, The Beatles, Yanni, Pink Floyd (Their HUGE hit Money was in 7/4), Incubus, Nine Inch Nails, etc.

Led Zepplin's Kashmir had the Strings playing in 3/4 while the drums were in 4/4 for the verses. For those not familiar with the song, the Strings were the prominent part of the rhythm section for the verses.

April 3, 2008 at 01:23 PM · Howard, good point - the spiritual side of the 60's.

And you can look back at Tchaikovsky's time, and see all the bad things in the world of that time, that were certainly not 'spiritual' or 'higher' - like the Crimean War or whatever war happened to be raging then.

I think my original idea, 2 threads back, still pulls a bit of intellectual weight though, no matter how unpopular an idea it is. I insensitively clogged the idea up with a few of my religious views, making people gag on it, but the idea has some historic merit. You can't get around the fact that the people back then had different beliefs in their heads than what most people have now. That has affected the style of the music, if nothing else. Is it relevant to this discussion? Yes!

Benjamin let the cat out of the bag when he admitted that composers wrote revolutionary music in the 60's. Yes, of course, and this supports my original point. Thank you Benjamin. Composers tend to compose music according to the thinking (or vibe if you want to be more 60's) of their time. This is directly connected to issues of personal belief about the world, society, other people: the stuff of the mind, or intellect (the spirit of the time). Gary made this point beautifully in the original thread.

I like the history of popular music in the late 19th and most of the 20th century. I like all that ragtime, jazz, and tin pan alley stuff, early popular music, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, other popular music theatre composers, on to hollywood film music, up to early rock and then 60's and 70's rock. My interest in rock stops there. I also love a lot of very down to earth world/folk music of the 20th century. I'm no luddite.

I apologise for pushing my own wheelbarrow too strongly earlier, and getting on my soapbox as Marina calls it. More positive types would have called it enthusiasm for the topic. All I can say is that I think classical music is going to get more popular. It will have to change a little though. I think one of those changes will be increasing numbers of older beginners learning classical music to professional/proficient level. The music and the musicians will have to adapt to the changing conditions of society.

April 3, 2008 at 12:17 PM · Mitchell,

I agree that orchestras do try to market the most popular pieces to appeal to the public. The say come and hear Beethoven's 5th and then stick in a piece by Hovhaness before it. I don't think there is a problem so much with repertoire. I think it's more about educating the public and making it accessible to them, or putting it in a format that will appeal to them. I wish I could come up with a master plan to execute it but if I'm the only one then that doesn't really matter.


There is a difference between the hype and the reality of what's happening with music education. Funnily enough I base a lot of my teaching on workshops I took with Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep as you put it) and my music program was funded by a VH1 grant - we even got to appear on the CBS early show with Mariah Carey because of it. While all that was nice the truth of the matter is that I was one music teacher asked to serve a school of 500 kids. Most teachers out there will tell you the same thing. There is no actual surplus - there is a need for good music education, lots of music teachers needing a job, and schools that need a music program yet not wanting to pay for it.

April 3, 2008 at 12:41 PM · The interest about classical music increases outside Europe, and perhaps the United States.

In a recent visit to New York, in which I took 4 17 inches violas with me, Toby Appel, from the Julliard School, asked me to make smaller violas since he has many many asian students.

There are 30 million piano students in China, the number of violin students may be 5 times that. The interest towards music is growing also in Japan and Korea. There is a classical music program in the Japanese TV that reminds me of the type of programs we had in Europe in the 60's.

In Venezuela there is a program called "El Sistema" that produces many fine musicians, including Dudamel, the conductor.

Here in Sao Paulo we have much better concerts and orchestras than decades ago, it's difficult to find tickets for the concerts of our State Orchestra, for instance. Most of the tickets are sold in advance by subscription.

Our State Orchestra is constituted mostly by young players, many came from Russia, Romenia, Ukrane, USA, Italy, Germany, etc.

As a maker I meet quite good young players, mainly viola players. Classical music is still a way (a difficult way, indeed) for social ascention, perhaps it's not catching now the same type of people that used to be envolved with classical music in the past.

April 3, 2008 at 12:49 PM · Jon, you will find that there is a fairly consistent pattern of great works being created by composers in periods of their lives when they had experienced great hardship or other kinds of changes in their lives, which caused them to grow as a person and their music grew along with them.

Sometimes these defining moments go along with religious/spiritual experiences, some times they don't. You can't just nitpick and only count the ones that suit your pet theory while ignoring those which don't fit in.

For example, Shostakovich grew into a mature composer after a disappointment over not winning a pianist competition in Poland. Up to that point he had planned to continue as a concert pianist, and he was very upset. After he got over the disappointment he focused on composition and his works instantly showed a maturity which they had not had before. He had grown as a person, so did his music. It would be nothing more than political spin to try to argue that he had had a spiritual experience as a result of being upset over not winning the competition, which then in turn would have resulted in greater works. The shoe simply won't fit.

Of course there are other examples, where some event in a composer's life would likely have have come along with a spiritual experience. The common theme however is that the artist was growing as a person, that alone is the cause, regardless of whether it was caused or assisted by spirituality or something more earthly.

I think what you are really referring to is passion mixed with a grain of perfectionism, never being really satisfied, always aiming for new heights, always striving for excellence.

This attitude *can* be spiritually motivated but it doesn't necessarily have to be, there can be other motivations. Many great artists describe their artistic restlessness as something they feel an urge to do without really being able to explain it. Again, it would be shameless to simply declare "Ha, they may not be able to explain it, but I can and here is my how this fits my pet theory".

Yes, indeed we seem to be living in an age of mediocrity where many people do many things not because they have a passion for what they are doing but simply to pay the bills. This attitude can be experienced in many many areas and it does lead to very average, if not mediocre products and service levels. A friend of mine calls this "No pride", in other words, lack of professional pride.

Yes, it would seem we need to get more passionate about what we're doing and no matter what we do, we ought to do well. Whenever somebody is passionate about what they are doing, if they have this professional pride, then they will (at least eventually) produce better results than somebody who doesn't have the passion, who lacks professional pride.

Still, it would be propaganda to assign a passionate/professional pride attitude only to people of a certain conviction and exclude those who don't share that conviction. There are many many people who are not religious and nevertheless passionate about what they are doing. At the same time, being religious is no guarantee against lack of passion or lack of professional pride.

April 3, 2008 at 08:34 PM · J.J., nice list! In "Money" the 2nd beat of 7 gets the accent throughout. It's a bluesy riff too, that reminds me of something Muddy Waters or Booker T. might play. I think the chorus might be a bar of 10/4 and a bar of 8/4 with the accent on 1, but I can't remember it that well.

April 3, 2008 at 01:10 PM · I believe you, Marina. The things I talked about are small things indeed. In comparison, it just seems to me that the position of music education is slightly better than that of "classical music" in general (if you can point out things that didn't occur to me, please do).

I do know her real name. :) Meryl Streep played her in the movie, and without the movie, my guess is most people wouldn't know who she is. Even with the movie, they may not realize it was a book first. That is unfortunately the way it goes today.

April 3, 2008 at 01:12 PM · Benjamin, that's a good post. I'd respectfully say though that perhaps you have read more into what I wrote, on that infamous earlier thread, than what is actually there.

April 3, 2008 at 01:34 PM · '. . . it would be propaganda to assign a passionate attitude only to people of a certain conviction and exclude those who don't share that conviction.' Did Jon really say that? I went back and took another look and that's not what I read. What I got was that the milleu, to borrow that I remember as a historian's favorite word, in which people live cannot but help influence how they live, what they write and the music they make. That is both a neutral statement, and something that ought to be perfectly obvious.

Personality is the next major component. Someone with a generally optimistic outlook who suffers a tragedy might compose music with an entirely different feel than a 'low tone' person suffering a similar tragedy. The one might compose a piece that brings us to ears, and the other merely makes us feel depressed. It's sort of a variation on the nature versus nurture theme.

My musical preferences include anything interesting. I get to define what I find interesting, of course, but it includes a lot. The period we call 'classical,' of course, but also jazz, ragtime, big band (that time I did mean to type 'band,' though I think some of the big band tunes have a pretty big 'bang'), 50's 60's and some 70's rock, and then my interest starts to fade. One of my favorite singing groups is The Kingston Trio. The minimalist stuff largely leaves me cold, but there are some of Phillip Glass' works that I like very much, because I find them 'interesting.' Enya is another like. I didn't say it made sense. I guess I expect others to have similarly varied tastes, and am somewhat taken aback when I invite someone to come hear the symphony, which will be playing some big band numbers as well as some 'traditional' offerings, and am told they only like, say, bluegrass. Period, nothing else. Say what? Then there's the 'I don't have the education' excuse, I wouldn't understand it' excuse I did get one person to at least say they would go when I asked if they liked Bugs Bunny cartoons, and pointed out that the music in those cartoons is classical. "Oh, is that what it's gonna be. I can listen to that."

I'm an optimist, and think classical will find continue to find a larger audience. Will that translate to more support for orchestras? Not immediately. I think in the short term we will have to work to find ways to fund orchestras. It's as much of a problem here in our little town, as it is in large cities. For the long term all of us with an interest in this need to do what we can to introduce the young players to classical music. Most schools still have some sort of music program, don't they? The schools here still do, but I don't know if that gone by the wayside elsewhere. Where they do, what can we do to influence their music selection? Locally, the symphony includes the schools in its programs, and has a conservatory of music to teach violin, viola, piano, and basically whatever there is an interest in.

Time for me to get back to work. I'll check back in tonight.

Troll out.

April 3, 2008 at 03:50 PM · Sander,

When I mentioned my list, I wasn't making the assertion that classical music has less of those elements than pop or the reverse. Perhaps I stated it badly (wouldn't be a first for me). I merely wanted to deliniate basic musical elements which seem to create excitement and address the basic musical needs humans have.

Sometimes I feel classical performance today has been so preoccupied with technical fireworks that some basic musicianship is lost. To the degree this is the case, I think we should pay attention and work to restore those basic elements in our music.

I'd rather hear a performance in which the violinist has a few mistakes but maintains a foot-tapping head-nodding pulse (which is characteristic of the dance beat or ethnic rhythms upon which the music is based), pays attention to the ensemble and bass line (even if we're not playing it), plays with excitement and energy (whether or not it's "appropriate"), and "sings" the melody to me. I feel sometimes we become so involved in the minutia, we forget to give the audience what they came to listen to. It's just a guess, but I wonder if it has something to do with the competitive climate--at times we're playing to impress each other, not necessarily the audience (and, if that truly is the case, I can easily see where we could become disconnected).

This is certainly not the entire picture. So many others have said so eloquently what I did not. All of these factors we have been speaking about are part of the general landscape.

I'm only able to control the way I play, the way I feel about my music and the way I listen to and serve the needs of my audience. I suppose my comments were as much directed towards myself as anyone--to remind me that I have control over the way I play, and I hope whenever I'm priveleged enough to be asked to play that what I will offer is of the best and most endearing quality. Remembering these basic issues is very helpful for me in my quest to do so--and it seems the audience is usually appreciative (of course I'm not normally performing for traditional classical audiences).

I really didn't want to ruffle feathers. Of course classical music is rife with all those characteristics. I think I asserted that after Marina took me to task the first time ;-) ha ha. I wanted to be helpful and share some things I have noticed.

We often look to Heifetz as the primary example of a violinist who had mass appeal. Of course, but I would really like to know how much Kreisler's influence paved the way for that interest. Kreisler's playing, to me, encompasses the attributes I'm most striving to achieve in my own playing--not to copy him, but to understand HOW he made music so personal, with conviction and reached out so beautifully to his audience.

OH, and Roy, My thanks for your level-headed, logical, helpful, well-stated posts.

April 3, 2008 at 03:25 PM · Funny how arguments based on "dualities" tend to lead to dead ends. You see this with "mind/body," "science/religion," "romanticism/classicism," "classical/pop," etc.

The problem with these arguments is that they're all based on "top-down" thinking as opposed to "bottom up" thinking based on the world as it is. Looking at the world as it is invariably creates a more nuanced picture than the above dichotomies can accommodate.

I think we've seen the above illustrated in these 3 threads.

April 3, 2008 at 03:37 PM · Hey, Kimberly (& Jim & everyone else) - everyone's opinion is just fine with me. My problem isn't with opinions, it's with some of the so-called music out there. And I don't mean that all pop music is lousy. At this point in my life I've come to the conclusion that there are only 2 kinds of music - good music and lousy music - no matter what the style or when it was written. Bach and Beethoven and Mozart all wrote their share of clunkers, and there's a lot of pop music that is worthy of a Schubert.

The question is, where is (what we define as) classical music going? The answer is....not clear.

One can clearly see the thread of development through the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras, but where is it leading to? What is the next developmental step? I'm not sure there is any. And if that is the case, then what does it mean to look ahead to the future of classical music?

Maybe the same question existed, comparatively, two hundred years ago, but today it is a little different. We have reached the ends of tonality and gone past it. We have developed a technology of sound and instrumentation that was undreamed of even a few decades ago. We have refined, I think, the technology and education of learning to play the toughest of musical instruments (the violin, IMHO).

But we are also competing for peoples' attention with a popular music culture that people literally carry around with them and listen to no matter what else they are doing at any time of the day or night, and whose visibility is fueled by an incredible marketing and advertising assault.

And this popular music culture (including movies) is more than sound - it is visual and dramatic and filled with extra-musical trappings that steal the show from the pure sound of the music.

How is classical music as we know it going to survive all this? I'm not smart enough to figure it out.

April 3, 2008 at 04:00 PM · Thank you Kimberlee. You've said it all! Beautifully!

Kimberlee said:

"I'd rather hear a performance in which the violinist has a few mistakes but maintains a foot-tapping head-nodding pulse (which is characteristic of the dance beat or ethnic rhythms upon which the music is based), pays attention to the ensemble and bass line (even if we're not playing it), plays with excitement and energy (whether or not it's "appropriate"), and "sings" the melody to me. ......--at times we're playing to impress each other, not necessarily the audience "

April 3, 2008 at 05:16 PM · Sander--it's all good. We're cool. Actually, your post put me in mind of something we haven't addressed yet: The Usefulness of Music in American Society (sorry--I'm culturally limited never having lived outside the U.S.--a handicap, I know). So, if we're just talking about how the Average Joe is involved in music on an every day basis, here it is:

1. For exercise (gotta have my iPod when I'm exercising)

2. For driving

3. For encouraging people to buy things or set a mood in a store, hotel or restaurant.

4. To drive you crazy while you're on eternal hold

5. For Dancing

6. In Movies and on TV

7. For Working. Kids routinely, and sometimes adults will, sing to themselves while they focus, think, imagine or concentrate (providing one's own backtrack).

8. For taking a shower.

These are just some I thought of off the top of my head.

There are some tracks of classical I can listen to that get me going while I'm running in the morning, but I'm afraid a great deal of it gets me off my tempo and isn't useful for keeping me on pace when I'm starting to weary. I wonder if anyone has ever made a classical "working out" album. Now that I think about it, I bet if there's going to be a "revival" a good place for it to start is coffee houses, restaurants and other eateries. Food and music go great together. Not surprising that's where Matt Haimovitz is playing along with his full concert schedule. Smart guy.

I'm sure if "pop music" doesn't serve the needs of its audience, it will meet a similar doom. If it gets absorbed in itself and forgets to meet basic musical needs, people will ultimately stop listening to it and find something more interesting.

Random thoughts I know. Maybe someone else can make something of them.

Roy, most of the time I feel so small around here, it means a great deal to have your nice words. Thanks.

April 3, 2008 at 04:15 PM · @ Sander

Composers "competing for peoples' attention with a popular music culture" is nothing new. It's been there in Bach's days, in Mozart's days, in Beethoven's days etc etc etc

Often the composer has to compete with his own "youth sins". For example, throughout Beethoven's lifetime, his septet op.20 was so popular that many of his later works had difficulties to "live up" to his septet and he was rather upset about it. Now, the septet is a very lovely piece but it is rather more the type of pop music of its time and not comparable to many of Beethoven's later works in terms of complexity and seriousness etc.

A great number of works by Mozart were in fact the pop music of the day and so was just about anything written by Johann Strauss (son). Sure one may argue that the pop music of then had "more taste" than our pop music has today, but whether or not that is really so, it is besides the point when it comes to the aspect of "competing against popular music".

April 3, 2008 at 04:35 PM · @ Kimberlee

here is another one ...

8. Avoid having to listen to that soap opera the spouse is watching on TV

FWIW, Martinu string quartets are very good for that, you could use techno music and turn up the volume of course but that then becomes audible and annoying for people around you, the Martinu quartets have such a way of filling the airwaves that you won't hear a thing (from outside your earphones) even at modest volume while at the same time you don't annoy anybody around you.

April 3, 2008 at 04:42 PM · Benjamin: Yes, maybe competing for peoples' attention with a popular music culture is nothing new and has been around for hundreds of years. But my point is that today, thanks to the incredible revolution in technology, pop culture is available to the average person virtually 24 hours per day every day of the year, and the average person takes advantage of it. Everybody seems to be wearing those little music buds in their ear these days. It's almost as if there is no room to squeeze in a little classical music. It seems to me that this is a situation that is not directly comparable to any other period in history.

What do you think?

April 3, 2008 at 04:49 PM · Other random uses of music with examples:

Morning caffeine-enhancers: Nielsen Symphonies 3-5, Bartok violin sonatas, late Bartok string quartets.

Mellow evening music while aimlessly surfing the web: Janacek piano pieces, various Finzi short orchestral works.

Radio station fillers (known to all): Chopin waltzes and mazurkas, Dvorak slavonic dances, Brahms Hungarian dances.

Music for long drives: Sibelius or Mahler symphonies.

Music for short drives: see radio station fillers.

Music when you're already so bummed out the music can't make it any worse: Shosty String Quartet No. 8, Tchaik. piano trio.

April 3, 2008 at 05:00 PM · Kimberlee said:

"Roy, most of the time I feel so small around here, it means a great deal to have your nice words. Thanks."

And my thanks in turn to you, Kimberlee.

Here at we are all on equal terms. There are no second class citizens. That is the beauty of the internet and I believe in that POV profoundly.

I know that some fine players have left this forum because some "lesser citizens" had the temerity to challenge and disagree with them. That's their loss, as far as I'm concerned. I know that I personally grow and learn from everybody here.

April 3, 2008 at 05:50 PM · @ Sander

I think this cuts both ways. I hear classical music around the clock thanks to those technical gadgets and my company's telephone system plays classical music to callers when we put them on hold.

At the bottom line the ratio of serious music to popular music is quite probably pretty much the same it has always been.

April 3, 2008 at 06:02 PM · @ Mitchell

hmmm, I find the Shostakovich quartets more appropriate as "early morning caffeine enhancers", also I would use Beethoven late quartets for the long drive, simply because you can set the stereo to repeat endlessly (since changing the music while driving may be a dangerous distraction) and those late quartets never get boring no matter how many times you repeat them. Definitely Mussorgsky "A night on the bare mountain" for the burnout category, ideally the synthesized version by Tomita, and at full volume. :-)

April 3, 2008 at 05:55 PM · ben, any difference between japan vs europe on classic vs pop?

April 3, 2008 at 06:32 PM · Ben and Mitchell--why not get out on those airwaves and FLEX those formidable Spin Doctor muscles of yours then?

Okay, maybe I'm going to actually DO something and stop flapping my trap. I'm still thinking about the nice post from Kevin Jang about his performance at an eatery in DC. I'm all inspired and there's this Open Mic night at a local eatery, and I've thought about it . . . and then kicked myself . . . and then thought about it . . . and then kicked myself . . .

My shins are hurting. Maybe I'll just decide there are worse things in life than being one of those terrible Idol contestants (ha ha ha).

Of course, I'm super trained compared to anyone on Idol (which just means I have more self-respect to lose, but, then again, Master Classes did a pretty good job of removing my self-respect in college, and some of those Idol contestants are way beyond self-respect and have joined the ranks of "deluded." Deluded is good. At least you're not the one feeling the pain--just your audience--ha ha ha). I've always felt Praeludium and Allegro had Rock Star potential. Maybe if I got an electric bass and a couple of guitars to back me up . . .

April 3, 2008 at 06:02 PM · Benjamin, I like Shost. SQs number 7 and 12 as early morning caffeine enhancers.

For long drives the Beethoven trios will do the trick.

For existential crises I recommend the Janacek string quartets:)

And there's always Bolero for insomnia:)

April 3, 2008 at 06:14 PM · Bolero for INSOMNIA? Too much. My sides are hurting.

April 3, 2008 at 06:22 PM · Al, I am not so sure, I have been away from Europe for a while now and only been returning as a visitor in recent years. Classical music is definitely common and rather well liked in Japan. A lot of TV commercials in Japan use classical music and they actually choose their repertoire quite well. Many Japanese actually recognise various pieces by the corresponding commercials :-)

Classical concerts here usually sell out on the first two days when the box office opens (usually two to three months before the event). To get a ticket for a chamber concert can be very difficult because the venues are smaller and that means fewer tickets.

As for pop music, the Japanese have their own Japanese pop music which I find absolutely repelling. I quite like traditional Japanese folk music but Japanese pop is just not my thing. They also like electronic music and there is a lot of techno stuff, some of which I quite like from time to time, but I find it very difficult to get a grip on who is who and what to look out for if I wanted to buy a CD. So, I mostly download techno music from sites where amateurs and aspiring professionals post their music under liberal licenses such as the Creative Commons etc.

Most of the techno music on those sites which I find appealing appears to orginate in France or Latin America. Not anything you'd find in Japan I reckon. One of my favourites is a French guy who goes by the name of Saelynh. Very beautiful sound and amazing melody lines with stunning arpeggios and cadenzas, incredibly virtuouso, almost like classical music. Maybe that's very typical European and less interesting to the Japanese pop music lovers.

One thing though about Asian cultures that gives classical music an advantage: things which are hard to accomplish and take years of hard work to achieve are very much appreciated and held in high regard here. Western culture seems more inclined to look for the quick fix, "Learn XYZ in 24 hours" style.

April 3, 2008 at 06:34 PM · thanks ben, very interesting. we have some friends in the US from japan. they treat classical music like, um, religion:)

one lady simply cannot stand the sound of any pop music (i think the electronic sound bothers her). i read somewhere midori does not listen to pop tunes.

different strokes for different folks!

April 3, 2008 at 06:15 PM · On the "rock 'n roll" topic--there are hundreds of bands out there recording music out of the 4/4 mold. You just don't hear them on the radio, mostly because they don't follow a verse-chorus form with a catchy melody (thus alienating a majority of listeners whose scope are extremely limited).

I think one of the reasons Classical music is in trouble is the limited opinions of many classical musicians themselves. There are many musicians I play with in symphonies who turn their nose up ( or shrug dismissively) at Adams, Part, Takemitsu, etc. let alone any music that involves plugging something into an amplifier.

During one car-pool ride to symphony rehearsal I brought a recording of Dream Theater's Dance of Eternity to play for my classical colleagues--I figured it would be a great intro to some more classicaly oriented rock music that involved amplified instruments and a modern sensibility--no lyrics or vocals, but a six-minute instrumental number that, according to Wiki, involves about 123 time signature changes and many styles. It's an incredibly exciting piece that is also a bit of a virtuoso display for the musicians involved. I was disappointed by the underwhelmed reaction, but I shouldn't have been surprised. But there is a connection to young musicians there, too--the piece was transcribed (I think by a student)for and performed by a high school percussion ensemble (I think it's on YouTube somewhere). Older classical musicians may need to reach out a bit more to connect with the younger people in this way.

April 3, 2008 at 06:33 PM · @ Kimberlee

not sure what you mean by superior talent :-O

As a violinist I am not anywhere near fitting that description, I am still more occupied with learning than I am actually playing if that makes any sense. As a listener I very much hope to have left the notion of inferior and superior behind me.

As a kid things were so easy: Beethoven was the best, Mozart was nice but often a little too nice, Schubert was beautiful, Brahms was OK, Schoenberg and anything classical after 1900 was absolute trash and not worth calling music in the first place. Deep Purple was way cool, Jimi Hendrix was, too, Depeche Mode was trash, John Travolta and Olivia Newton John were eeeky and schmaltzy.

At that stage I would have never ever been able to enjoy Shostakovich, Janacek, Martinu, Bartok, Stravinsky etc. But the world was very easy to handle back then :-) Everything was either good or bad :-)

At some point Beethoven's late quartets came my way and I was no longer sure if it was good or bad. On the one hand it sounded like the kind of music that I would otherwise have declared non-music, on the other hand it was Beethoven, he couldn't possibly go wrong, could he? So I had to face the possibility that there was something wrong with my listening. When I had reached that point the world would never be so simple again.

After a long process of listening very hard, the late quartets of Beethoven are now my all time favourite pieces and Shostakovich now ranks prominently only second to Beethoven.

In the face of this I realise that I have to be careful when passing judgement on music since I have obviously caught myself being very wrong and as a result almost missed out on enjoying some real nice stuff, ie. Shostakovich. I therefore try to avoid thinking in terms of "good and bad taste" or "superior and inferior" etc.

What I do when listening is ask myself "does this sound like it is going to grow on me as I listen to it again and again?". Usually it is that music which grows with listening which I end up loving most.

I still can't seem to get any pleasure out of listening to Schoenberg or Webern, but I am not giving up hope and listen to their works from time to time to see if things have changed.

In any event, that music which might seem "trashy" today may well be the one which sounds fabulous tomorrow, so I try to stay away from this whole superior/inferior thing, I just hope to make more enjoyable discoveries. And I don't limit myself to classical music only either.

April 3, 2008 at 07:44 PM · I know what you mean. I'm working on Ysaye's 4th Sonata today. Some violinists I know really hate his stuff (I don't understand it), and seriously don't find anything in it, whereas for me it's so deep it's in my bones. Can't really justify it except to say there must be some organic connection.

Thank goodness for Ysaye, and, it sounds like for you, thank goodness for Shosty and Beethoven. May I reccommend the Shostakovich Cello Concerto. Wow.

Btw--I changed the wording. What I meant was "flex your classical music spin doctor muscles." Sounds like both you and Mitchell have thought about classical music and its practical applications more than I have (and I've been playing longer than you have I think) :-).

April 3, 2008 at 07:17 PM · What do people think of concert programs combining a famous work with a little known work to give the latter some exposure?

Do you think concert audiences really appreciate this? Or would they rather just hear the "regulars" that they know and love and do without the "new stuff."

On the other hand, how do orchestras get any kind of listening for newer or lesser known works if they don't use this programming technique?


Kimberlee, I just read your last post about the "classical music spin doctor muscles." Heck, at this stage, I'll take any muscles I can get.

I'm not a musician and I'm sure you know 100 times as much about this stuff as I ever will:)

But it does give me hope for humanity that a guy like me with a tin ear can get to the point when he appreciates at least some of this music.

April 3, 2008 at 07:46 PM · I agree Mitchell. That IS inspiring.

April 3, 2008 at 07:29 PM · @ Kimberlee

heh, the DSCH cello concerto was the first piece by him that I "discovered" ;-)

@ Greg

"I think one of the reasons Classical music is in trouble is the limited opinions of many classical musicians themselves."

I don't think that every classical musician has to appreciate the entire "classical" repertoire. I think the real problem here is the wide range of what constitutes "classical" music (in the colloquial sense of the term) caused by a lack of a proper nomenclature. 400 years worth of music rolled into a single moniker, that's really asking for trouble.

If you look at the Techno genre, they have an abundance of names for different styles within the genre. This can be confusing in itself, but it helps to identify which pieces belong or are similar to a given style and are thus likely to be what you are interested in. A musician can then also more easily communicate what type of music he is making by naming all the styles he is involved in.

For contemporary classical music there isn't really anything like this, and for 20th century classical music the terms are still too wide and fuzzy, and probably as a result of that seldomly used other than by music theorists. I think that it s major problem when trying to find new friends for classical music.

@ Mitchell

I think the answer is "it depends"

For one, it depends on the target audience. For example, if you wanted to target young folks, then it would probably be a good idea to have a warm-up part before the main program where a rock band or an electronic performer plays an arrangement of the piece that the main orchestra will later play in the main program. If the target audience looks like it may be interested in making discoveries of new music then the warm-up part might be a chamber group playing some avantgarde piece, etc.

April 3, 2008 at 07:38 PM · One more thing ...

Many classical pieces have an interesting background story. Especially interesting are stories of pieces which had initially been controversial, that is to say not so well received or even rejected by their contemporaries.

I remember to have read the booklet that came with my collection of late Beethoven quartets. It described how one influentical music critic at the time stated that Beehoven had completely lost it and how only "Moroccans could enjoy" this. It then went on to explain how difficult these pieces were to play and that it took 100 years for them to be a) understood by quartet players how to overcome the technical difficulties and b) fully appreciated by audiences.

Now, if you read this (or be told about it) and you are not sure if you like it, you are somewhat in a dilemma. If you decide you don't like it, then you are in the same boat as the apparently foolish contemporaries who didn't understand what a masterpiece this really was. If you don't want to be in that boat, you have no choice but to appreciate the music, yet if you listen to it for the first time, perhaps it is too difficult and you can't.

However, there is a bridge built for you, too. If it took 100 years for the music to be understood and appreciated, you may safely be excused for not getting it the first time you listen to it. But your curiosity might just have been stimulated just enough to want to listen to it again and see if the piece will grow on you.

Another, quite different example is Bach's Chaconne. It was written after Bach's first wife had died and been buried while he was away on a business trip to a remote town. Imagine the tragedy of going away for a couple of weeks, the world being in perfect order, and when you come back you find your spouse is dead and already buried, you had no chance to say good bye. Very sad. If you listen to the music, you can hear the pain.

I find anecdotes that go along with pieces like this always both fascinating and helpful when introducing the music to somebody who might not yet be able to fully appreciate it. It gives the listener some point of reference.

April 4, 2008 at 04:23 AM · Ben, that's one theory about the chaconne. It came from that time frame, but that's all we know.

Sandy, we might have a better picture of its future if we knew how it fit into society in the past. Music history class doesn't teach that. The teaching is 99% about classical music as an isolated thing. I've always wondered about that part of music history.

I think there was a conscious split between classical and parlor music in the 1800s and parlor might have gone on to factor into pop, but don't know details. Pianists are more likely to know this kind of stuff than violinists :)

In the 1800s in the U.S. there was a parlor guitar music rage among women. It was all women playing little guitars, and some technically really complicated music. Oddly enough, a lot of elements of that, including quotes and rep, turns up in black guitar-based music of the early 1900s, predominantly men, that was a big contributor to rock. Maybe still the war between classical and parlor.

April 3, 2008 at 08:39 PM · Last night while listening to Fred Child's "Performance Today" show I was surprised to hear him addressing this exact subject. Apparently Copenhaagen has come up with an innovative idea to make classical music more in teresting to children "The Lego Hall"!! According to Fred Child, who visited there, it is an astonishing work of architecture built almost entirely with giant plastic legos. Hilary Hahn and Lang Lang performed for the grand opening which brought in a large number of children. In a phone interview Fred later had with Miss Hahn she esteemed the Hall to be a "genius of architecture ... projecting well into the 22nd century" To read more and hear the interview go to

April 4, 2008 at 03:20 AM · Nicole,

Thanks for the personal note about appreciating the PSO in Morgantown. I do think we're somewhat underappreciated here in Pittsburgh -- certainly compared to the way I remember the Boston Symphony being idolized when I was a student at NEC. Every orchestra member was a celebrity in his own rite.

Perhaps the difference is that we have not had a music director who lived here in town and gave his all to the orchestra since William Steinberg died in the 1970's. But times are changing. Today all music directors are part time -- 10-12 weeks a year. Imagine having a part-time boss in any other walk of life!

Anyway, thanks for the appreciative note and best of luck in grad school. Do you know where you'll be going yet?


April 4, 2008 at 11:51 AM · Given the temporary lull in posts, let me try to sum up what I see as some of the positives for the future of classical music:

Demographic trends are favorable. In the west the populations are aging, and as people age they seem to become more receptive to this music.

Importantly, this group has much more disposable income than younger people do.

As has been noted, classical is highly popular in a lot of Asian countries, which are growing at a much faster pace than western countries. While up to now they have tended to import values from the west, as time goes on they will start influencing the west as much as they are influenced by it. We are already seeing this with much more attention being paid to new compositions coming out of Asia.

Right now (at least in the U.S.) the situation at the public school level looks fairly bleak. But the cracks in "No Child" are showing, and there will be a counter-reaction to the "bean counter" theory of education.


What separates a potential "convert" to classical from other people? I use the term because I think there are similarities to a religious conversion.

Take a 45 year old person who has been listening to his or her favorite rock music for years and is not really been keeping up with the latest stuff. At some point that person may feel that listening to the same favorites over and over again begins to get stale. As with anything you get less stimulated the more you repeat the exposure.

Such a person may at some point feel there's "something missing." At that point the latest rock may seem just as "alien" as classical, and the person may be ready to give classical a whirl.

On the other hand a person who is satisfied with keeping up with the latest rock music may not feel a need for something else "new."

So the target (at least in terms of adults) is a 40-45 year old "oldies" listener. Just a theory.

April 4, 2008 at 04:38 PM · Those are great theories, and well summed up.

I think classical music is incredibly interesting to young kids too. I've played in all of my kids' classes. When the other teachers hear about me, I'll get asked to play in those classes too. I've been told I'm quite the attraction and the kids go around talking about it for weeks and all want to learn the violin.

I'm not wonderful, the VIOLIN is wonderful. It's simply an incredible, expressive, beautiful instrument, and when it's played with love and joy, kids hear that and love it too. We're not pandering a second-rate instrument. It's been loved and written for and used in all sorts of situations since its miraculous creation hundreds of years ago. There are so many more advantages a violin has over other modes of expression, and when they're properly utilized, the expressive power of the violin is simply unequalled. Outside of the human voice, if I wanted to rip people's hearts out, have them sobbing, full of emotion, almost unable to speak, I'm going to reach for the violin every time (cellos are pretty formidable too). Most people know that, they've just lost their inroads towards it.

I'm sure the way will open, as we watch and pay attention, to re-establish the road to the listeners who need this music and don't know it. I think their ages are all over the map if we'll play for THEM.

As far as teenagers--maybe some of them just have a tough time dealing with that much pathos. Seems like a great deal of classical music is driving towards the expressive or cerebral qualities, but the violin has been used for other things--dancing. If they're looking for a strong dance beat that doesn't confuse them and isn't too complicated, they're not going to find it at a traditional classical concert. There are plenty of violinists who know how to serve that fare, and they're attracting the younger crowd who are looking for that. Violins can dazzle too--I've learned some pretty incredible rifs courtesy of Kreisler and Co.. If you play it like a Rock Star, people tend to leave with their mouths hanging open. I've seen it more than once (mostly when I show my friends things on youtube--ha ha ha :D).

April 4, 2008 at 01:45 PM · I am uncomfortable with the term "converting" somebody to classical music and also with the likening of it to religious evangelism.

I would rather like to think of it as winning new friends for classical music. This would seem to be more compatible with the fact that there is no conflict in listening to different kinds of music and that it is unlikely somebody is going to give up listening to music he's enjoyed so far simply because he also now finds enjoyment in a different kind of music, in reality this should be an additive experience, not a replacement.

April 4, 2008 at 01:57 PM · Great stuff, Kimberlee. Your post hits on all the right "notes," so to speak.

I think the focus is misplaced sometimes when people think about how to fill up the concert halls. The more critical thing is to touch people with the music. Sometimes this will happen in the concert hall, but more often than not it will happen in smaller settings.

Once the music touches more people, attendance at the concert halls will take care of itself.


Just read your post, Benjamin. Your way of stating it makes perfect sense. Maybe I got a little carried away:)

April 4, 2008 at 03:22 PM · Mitchell, I guessed you did get carried away, if I had felt you were serious about the whole "like religious conversion" business, I might have suggested an iron maiden -- the torture instrument, not the rock band ;-)

April 4, 2008 at 04:34 PM · >>From Benjamin K

>>Posted on April 3, 2008 at 07:38 PM

>>Many classical pieces have an interesting background story.

Bingo! I remember going to the orchestra when I was a kid. We had to dress up, sit perfectly still, not make a noise, listen to music I never heard before, and, other than the music, is was boring...

Fast forward - after years of playing in rock, jazz, country, metal, bands, etc, got out of music, into computer programming, had kids, etc. The company I work for built a huge new building, and moved everyone from the suburbs to downtown. As part of the "get everyone comfortable with working downtown" set of events, the DSO (Detroit) played a lunchtime concert in the lobby of our building.

This time they played some music I've heard before, and some I didn't. The thing that really connected with the audience was how the conductor (Thomas Wilkins) presented the music. He talked to the audience (what a concept!). He told us about some historical events that were occurring when the music was writing, things that were going on with the composer, things about how the piece was typically played, etc. That made it HUGE difference in how I felt, and what I thought, while listening to the music.

I then won some tickets to a DSO concert series aimed at kids and took my daughter (6 or 7 at the time). We had the same conductor. He did the same thing. Only this time he went further. He had the orchestra play maybe 16 bars of a section after telling us about it and pointed out things to listen for. He had individual members play a little bit on their instrument so you could let what an oboe sounds like vs a cello, etc (the performers played little snipped of popular music, the conductor feigned astonishment, and the audience roared in laughter). He did this for maybe 4-5 sections of the piece, then played the piece. What a difference it made in listening to it!

He had the kids stand up and make some noise in between pieces, then thanked them for being so good and not making noise while the orchestra was playing. etc. In other words, he put the "Entertainment" back in the Entertainment Business - which, like it or not, music is part of.

So, I thought, wow, the classical music world has really changed! My daughter started taking violin lessons, and, at the suggestion of her teacher, we went to a violin recital at a local college. The young woman performing stated in her concert notes that part of her mission was to help bring classical music to prominence in the African-American community and that she spends a lot of time playing in inner city schools while on tour to expose kids to classical music.

So, what happened when she performed? She didn't say word. No introduction to the music, no thank you, nothing. 1/3 of the audience was kids, about 1/2 was African-American. Here was the perfect opportunity, but nothing. My daughter was bored and didn't like it.

Since then I've taken my daughter to see James Ehnes (she "liked" him, but never mentioned it again), and just recently Gil Shaham (she "LOVED" him). Neither one of them said a word. For the last three months prior to the Shaham concert I played, in the car on the ipod, the list of music that he was going to perform.

I think her hearing the music over and over, and the fact that Gil was a very dynamic performer (almost rock guitarish in his manorisms - just enough to accent what he was playing)made a huge difference in her enjoyment of the concert.

So, is Thomas Wilkins unique in the conductor world? I hope not, but I suspect he is.

To me, conductors/performers like him are what is needed to expand the audience. Entertain, educate, explain, be funny, be humble, etc. It's the entertainment industry, so entertain/educate.

Also, people/groups like Mark Woods, The Section, Apocalyptica, etc will help bridge the gap between rock and classical. (search google for "metallica cello") and the responses to what they are doing.

My two cents...

April 4, 2008 at 06:34 PM · Everyone should read Jim's post ten times.

April 4, 2008 at 06:02 PM · Jim, very nice! thanks for sharing this.

April 4, 2008 at 06:23 PM · Mitchell,

Once the music touches more people, attendance at the concert halls will take care of itself.

When I talked about filling halls, I thought that was a given; am I mistaken?

April 4, 2008 at 07:18 PM · Mr. Sonne,

That observation is spot-on; the perception of community and commitment is a powerful thing. Grant Cooper's wife Margie told me that when he first got the job in Charleston and hadn't yet found a permanent home in the area, total strangers ("church ladies," she said) would come up to her and express their agitation about it.

Not to disparage my hometown, but I always had the idea that Pittsburgh was more culturally and artistically rich than Morgantown. I had also heard rumors that tickets weren't selling well, so I was stunned to see so many people interested in attending an orchestra concert -- even a world-class one -- on a weekday. It left me wondering if any of my assumptions were correct, and whether there were principles at work that might be applied across the board.

My senior year, I tried to develop an attractive flyer campaign to get the word out around town about our small, but good University Orchestra. I don't know if it had much success, because two of our concerts conflicted with highly-anticipated sports events! This state does take great pride in its football and marching bands.

As for myself, I'm vacillating between Hartt and the U. of Toronto, with Arizona State/Tempe in third. Thanks for your interest!

April 4, 2008 at 06:43 PM · Hi Nicole. I thought your posts were great and I don't disagree with anything you've said.

I'm just saying let's look at the "micro" level and what on an individual basis can win a person over to classical. And in that context, who is most likely to be won over.

April 4, 2008 at 07:10 PM · Precisely. We are on the same page, then.

April 4, 2008 at 10:41 PM · musical artists do what they do because they love the entire concept and all its attention to attempts at playing an instrument which,somehow,has become a definitive segment of their lifestyle.

this process has proven to be historically nonending and will continue to do so forever.

consider it as an alltruism which,thankfully,will never end.

officianados,of same,may vary--from time to time,but the music will continue to last forever and no one can take our music away from us !

music is a given,sooner or later segments of the world will catch on and incorporate music into their lifestyle.

music does not lie,most everyone desires the truth and music is "the only truth".

fear not about the future--music is the future and we are a part of it.

for this i am so very proud to have even made one human lifted above their basic ennui .....

kids LOVE music,and they are pure.

ashamed the world should be to deny a child the chance of 'discovering' music throughout their early years .

what we accomplish as musicians may not make a speck of difference--it does not matter--just the attempt at doing so is 100 times worthwhile !

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