Classical music has been in existence for hundreds of years. In fact, classical music is said to be a division of art music. Art music appears to have always been part of modern society; dating from over two thousand years ago. In contrast classical music is relatively young, stemming from the middle of the eighteenth century. It is characterized by the fact that it is recorded on paper and the style is rigid.
In fact, this is two of the biggest reasons why it can be difficult to persuade young people to even give classical music a chance; it is seen as old and staid. Classical music is generally associated with the older generation whilst young people want to be in with the latest thing. Classical music does not change whilst the modern musical experience is constantly evolving and diversifying.
Stage One – Recognize the Issue
Before you can encourage young people to listen to classical music it is important to understand the following principles:
- Older people often see classical music as better. No one likes to be told that something else is better than their choice.
- Young people do not generally like classical music; this means that if one of them does they are likely to be going against the flow; this is not z challenge many young people take on eagerly!
- Music is for listening to and enjoying but classical music always seems to need to be explained. This goes against the point of music. It should simply be a chance to enjoy the sounds and experience new things.
- Enjoyment – Young people like to throw themselves into one activity and then switch to another. The music goes with their mood and is free flowing. However, classical music is generally stuck in its own groove. In addition there are long silent parts and a high volume of your time is spent applauding. This does not make it appealing to a young person; it makes it far more complicated than it needs to be.
Stage 2 – Guide them to the Music
You cannot pressurize a young person into liking or disliking anything. One of the greatest things about young people is their willingness and openness to new experiences. This can be used to guide them towards classic music.
- Play it yourself! No young person is going to listen to classical music unless they have heard it playing. However, don’t make a big deal about the music. Simply include a classical song in your repertoire of other songs. Preferably add a modern song that a young person will like.
This technique will ensure they are listening. It will help them to realize you can like and play music from different genres.
- Get them when they are young! If you love classical music and play it at home then there is a much higher chance of them being interested in it when they are older. Children who come from homes which have played classical music whilst they have grown up are generally more interested in all types of music.
- Make it Accessible – No young person wants to go to a concert lasting several hours with music that they are not sure they enjoy! In fact no older person would do this! To get young people to like classical music you need to introduce them gently. A show should have a theme and a story; the music should be almost an extra. This will entice those who are curious in to watch and expose them to classical music at the same time.
- Use their peers – Young people prefer to stick with the trend; if the most popular ones do not listen to classical music it is unlikely that the other young people will. To get young people to like classical music you need to make it approachable to the most popular figures. The easiest way to do this is by invitation. Invite them to an event they will enjoy and add a little classical music into the program.
The only way to ensure young people start to like classical music is to introduce them to it slowly. There should be no pomp or ceremony. It is merely another tune. Over time this will allow their natural curiosity to develop and they will find out more about the music and listen to more of it. Of course, not every young person will like classical music; not every older person does!