Four Reasons Why I Listen to Classical Music
I never used to. Well, I did occasionally, but it wasn’t my go-to station when I was in the car. I mean, I’ve always appreciated classical music. I just never before needed it as much as I do now.
What changed? Donald Trump came to power. That single happening has been so loud, so ugly, so divisive, that I need a break from the continual national noise. Sure, I could listen to pop music, which is loud and often has a mind-numbing beat. But there’s nothing soothing about it.
Classical music? Ahhhh. Classical music. It does soothe me. Why? Four reasons.
First, it has history. At a time when political rhetoric seems ready to blow up and destroy us all, the longevity of classical music is something. There’s comfort in the fact that this music has lived through wars and survived. Handel’s “Water Music” debuted in 1717; that’s more than 300 years and Lord knows how many wars ago!
Second, it is brilliant. More to the point, its composers are brilliant. Bach, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi? Mozart? Chopin, Brahms, Debussy? Schubert and Liszt? OMG, I could go on and on – and then there’s Beethoven, who was deaf when he composed some of his most famous works.
Third, I appreciate the chords, the tempo, the harmony – and the orchestra. Why? I used to play in an orchestra – well, “play,” in my totally amateur way. Okay, I took piano lessons for nine years growing up. But did you know I also played the flute? I used to march with my school band in our town’s annual Memorial Day Parade. I sometimes played piccolo, because John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” absolutely needs a piccolo. But for the school orchestra, it was flute all the way.
Another little secret: When my kids were toddlers and I sought an escape, I rented a violin. I was into my third lesson when I faced a choice – violin or fingernails. Fingernails won. But I do love the resonance of a violin well played, a deeper and soulful viola, a mellow cello, and I can hear these instruments when I listen to classical music. I can also hear main themes and variations on main themes, as I was taught in the music appreciation courses I took in college.
Fourth and finally, I can think while I listen to classical music. I review what I’ve written, and plot what I’m writing next. The lack of noise is conducive to thought. I’ve actually worked bits of classical music into my WIP, in which my protagonist’s 13-year-old daughter loves Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5 but also does appreciate these older works.
Classical music won’t solve our country’s problems, but at least it may cool some tempers. Well, only some.
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I took an art quilting class a few years ago, and the teacher called both classical and instrumental new age “right brain” music. You can focus on the task at hand, not hearing lyrics in your head. I’ve always liked both, so it wasn’t a stretch for me.
I listen to classical music and leave Amazon classical music for pets on when I leave the house. It’s also wonderful for quiet meditation!
Very well said. Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers. I have been a classical musician, a piano teacher and piano judge all of my life, and there is nothing as satisfying as listening to wonderful music – it touches the soul and speaks it’s own language to us. I’ll be 81 this June and I’m looking forward to many more years of reading and listening!
I took a music history class years ago while working on my bachelor’s degree. I almost hate to admit it, but it was one of my favorite classes. I don’t listen to it but really enjoy and appreciate it when I do!
Classical music has been my go to my whole life. There was several teen years that I was into pop rock then country but my heart really beats to classical. I started playing clarinet but my heart was in flute! 5 years of clarinet I was too cool for band.
After 4 years of marriage I couldn’t quiet the flute desire and bought one. Studied off and on as I could afford to. I took piano, guitar and voice lessons too but flute won over all! Then I joined a couple community bands, started playing on Sunday mornings in church. Then I found a flute choir and they allowed me in. Then they introduced me to the Summer Metropolitan Flute Festival Orchestra at New England Conservatory and here we are about to play the 9th Sumner with my amazing flute family in July!
Classical is in my soul and beats from my heart!
What a lovely post. You’re making me want to listen to Classical music, too.
I discovered the cello and the wonderful music of Hauser. His music became my haven during the traumatic T years. I won’t even give T any of my valuable energy by typing his name. Sad time.
Hauser would start my day with “Hallelujah” then all was right with my world. We are blessed with the talents of these musicians.