Classical Music and You

girl playing piano painting volegov
(c) Mr. Volegov

Classical music — some adore it, others hate it. But what about the rest of us, who didn’t grow up with pianos or violins in our houses but who are willing to give good sounds a chance? Can’t we mix classical music with some rock and punk and get away with it? I think that we not only can, but that we should.

Some people are born in an environment where classical music is held in high esteem. They have a piano in the house, or at least a violin. They are bred on it and it becomes a part of their lives. The rest of us grow up with MTV instead and the randomness of local rock concerts. This doesn’t mean that it’s only their music, or that you have to be an intellectual to go classical.

I remember once being in a romantic setting with a girl who adored music in general, but did not care an eyelash for classical music. I somehow got her to listen to Eric Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1: Lent one evening with her eyes closed, more as a challenge than anything else, and that magical bit of piano led us with the sweet boldness of its notes and their elusive flights into one of the most intense kisses on this side of the moon.

More than a romantic backdrop, classical music invites relaxation and can even provide emotional therapy. There are even studies which show that classical music, notably Mozart’s sonatas, improves cognitive performance. More than providing relaxation, classical music can help you work more productively.

I can’t always make the difference between Schumann and Schubert, and I’m not going to lie that I can remember the complicated titles (often in French, Italian, or some other language) of every sonata or improptu I like, and don’t even ask me to explain the scales. But that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of classical music, and on many days, it is the perfect accompaniment to the quiet and serenity not only of the world around me, but of my inner self.

Classical music is something anyone of us can enjoy, regardless of age or music education, if we open ourselves to it. Whatever genre you prefer, however remote it is from classical music, it shouldn’t stop you from discovering this other side of music.

Classic music is there for anyone to enjoy. We only have to make a small effort to discover it. It’s like talking to a stranger we don’t know and making friends with him or her. The pleasures classic music unravels are slow ones, and its long-drawn delights are different from the emotional highs (or lows) that contemporary music give us (all genres included). That’s what makes it special, and beautiful.

Classical music can be a treat for the open-minded and the patient. Yes, the patient, because in our day and age, classical music is an act of patience. It sings to us without words, and so we have to listen to it not only with our ears, but with our presence.

If you don’t listen to classical music already, I invite you to try at least once, as a new experience. A good way to start is to listen to it while you use your computer.


What’s your relationship to classical music? Do you have a favorite piece or composer that will delight our ears?

9 thoughts on “Classical Music and You

  1. My relationship with classical music is a rather peculiar one. As much as I am endlessly in love with music, I haven’t explored classical music as much as I would have wanted. But I do intend to try and reach its depths. If only most composers of classical music weren’t white old men…

    PS: I wrote you on Facebook too 😛

  2. I tend to regard classical music as a lavish banquet of tasty, well-prepared, nourishing food, and all other genres as guilty pleasure junk food. There’s a time and place for both. Debussy is a favorite of mine.

  3. Interesting article. I am a music student majoring in the piano, and I must say, one of the biggest misconceptions people have about classical music is that it is hard to understand, old-fashioned, too elegant and boring. Nowadays, there are many interesting documentaries and articles explaining classical music to the general public, concerts do provide programme notes that give audiences a brief insight into the music, and even operas have subtitles! Classical music is definitely not old-fashioned- ever heard of contemporary classical music? There are composers still writing Classical music today, or are inspired by classical music. Contemporary composers today are changing and challenging the definition of classical music (think of composers like John Cage, Pierre Boulez and Arvo Pärt). Classical music is more vast than we think, so how can it be boring? There is so much to explore and learn, and unless we bother to be interested to discover these wonders, it’ll forever be hard to understand and boring to some people.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for posting this article!! There are so many modern misconceptions about classical music when, surely, it has to be what we hear nearly every day! Most film soundtracks are classical music. For example Holst’s the plants is heard often, in particular, Mars and Jupiter. Anyone can notice the habanera by hear yet still people label classical music boring or dated! There are so many different kinds of classical music with so many emotions conveyed. I think it is lack of understanding mostly that brings people to easily condemn it so easily. E.J

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