Classical music is not accessible to many people, which is regretful.  Adults are the best learners of classical music because they have the emotional maturity to understand the emotional complexity that classical music presents, one of its most enduring values.

There is a learning approach that I recommend for non musicians that seems help 90% of the people…

1) Ask someone to recommend a concert for you.  2) Listen to the pieces ahead of time (20 X at least), and listen to them played by different musicians.  3) Show up at the concert and believe me you’ll get it.

So how does one listen?

When you’re hearing something for the first time, don’t exert yourself.  Sit down, pour a drink and listen.  Don’t try to like it, don’t try to understand it.  Don’t do anything!  After a few times you will be familiar with the melody.

Then begin to listen beyond the melody.  Listen to how it’s played.  It may be fast, it may be slow.  It may be loud and it may be soft.  Some notes are ambiguous, and some notes are barely there.  Usually there are turns and twists.  There’s tension, then resolution.   Argumentation then resolution.  Conflict then resolution.  Up and down, and up and down it goes, and just when you feel comfortable, some other elements get thrown in to make it more complex.  But the whole thing has a beginning and an end.

Fun huh (or have I confused everyone)?  I will leave everybody with something to try as I head to a concert myself.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude