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Monday, October 29, 2007

Getting Teens to Listen to Classical Music

Getting Teens to Listen to Classical Music

How many people would disagree with the idea that listening to better music would lead our teens to better lives? It's hard to imagine a bunch of teenagers spraying a bunch of graffiti under an overpass, doing drugs, or picking on little kids while jamming to Mozart's 40th Symphony.

So, how do we create interest? For my first set of tips I will cite a great article taken from a radio show by Fred Flaxman at WXEL-FM in West Palm Beach, Florida (link to article here). His first idea (tongue-in-cheek) is to forbid your teens from listening to it--that will really generate interest.

The main idea (that works) is to get your kids to listen to classical music that is similar to what they already listen to, and he gives several suggestions. These usually include pieces that are nice and loud, and very rhythmic. I have to admit that my interest in classical music started much this way.

Here are some of the pieces he suggests:

Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (I recommend Bernstein - lots of raw energy) I also love parts of "The Rite of Spring" - you can find both on the following recording.



Gulda's Konzert fur Violoncello und Blasorchester (see article - I'm unfamiliar with this one)

Guido Lopez Cavilan En Me Menor (again, one I am not familiar with)

Bernstein's Candide Overture (I LOVE this piece, and the recording below--lots of great Bernstein I think young people would be interested in).



Orchestra versions of popular pieces (He suggests the Beatles' Yesterday played by the Cincinnati Pops). This is a really good idea, as long as the orchestral version is done well enough.



And finally, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto, No. 2.



I like all of these suggestions, though a few of them might be a little obscure. Have you had any success with other pieces? Suggestions, remarks? Let's get our kids actively listening to things that will make their lives better, and do it in a way they can enjoy.

Happy listening!

Getting Teens to Listen to Classical Music

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I think saying it would be hard to imagine a group of kids creating graffiti or doing drugs while listening to Mozart's 40th symphony somehow misses the point of classical music and propagates the idea that the main point of classical music is to be somehow "relaxing." Classical composers, and performers in many cases lead just as socially deviant lives (including hard drug use and suicide) as any pop stars we hear about today. Therefore, why would anyone think that this music would have any intrinsically different effect on its listeners? Furthermore, I completely loose track of the argument when it is suggested that classical music that is somehow similar to the popular music that they listen to already is the way to get kids into it. If the goal is to get kids to listen to classical music that will have a calming effect and keep them away from deviant behavior, shouldn't music that is different from what they already listen to be stressed?

Eric Hanson said...

To whomever posted that last comment, thank you for your willingness to discuss. My argument has little to do with the "calming" effect of art music, nor on the personal lives of the composers. My feelings that listening to art music leads to better behavior has more to with the more (for lack of a better word) "sophisticated" nature of the music itself. It takes more to write that style music, as it does to listen to it. Sure, you can just listen to it to feel better which may be a nice by-product, but my hope would be that by listening to more art music you would be more inclined to use your mind. I don't just want teenagers or young people to just be lulled or calmed by such music, I just want them believing they are capable of being more creative themselves in ways that are constructive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is a liar. He has no evidence at all. No classical musician I know of doses drugs or even got drunk before. From Johann Sebastian Bach to Daniel Barenboim, there are no dosers I know of. The greatest difference between classical composers and modern singers is that: Modern composers do it for money. While classical composers are "taken" by music. That's why so many have spent their whole lives composing. Schubert, for instance, composed more than 500 songs, but died at the age of 30 something. He died because of health problems due to lack of sleep. Michael Jackson has composed no more than 100 songs, spent his life on stage, and died because of overdose. All in all, classical music is human's interpretation of nature, while modern music is the shock from the light bulbs.

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to get kids to listen to classical music is to play them Video Game Music.

The halo theme or some Nobuo Uematsu.

Video Game Concerts are truly a milestone in the world of classical music.

Never before in the history of music have concert halls been filled with teenagers and kids on the edge of their seats to hear classical music.

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