Monday, April 26, 2010

Classical music and kid concerts

I have no musical training. I can't read music. I didn't grow up playing an instrument, and though I own a guitar and tried for a brief time to learn to play it, I never really could. I know next to nothing about classical music; I've always listened to and deeply loved rock. I don't have any vocabulary or training that lets me know the meaning of the instruments coming into a piece at certain points, how to tell when the orchestra is doing particularly well, and so on. I am ignorant of classical music.

Scott and Sarah, on the other hand, are excellent musicians who have grown up playing that music. Both play both violin and piano. Because of them, I've been to many concerts, most of which have featured classical music. This past Wednesday night, for example, I went to see the final concert of the year for the Duke Symphony Orchestra, in which Sarah plays.

The theme of the show was "Happy (200th) Birthday, Robert Schumann!" As you could guess, I'm not familiar with Schumann's music. In fact, I didn't know any of the three pieces on the program:

BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
HERBERT Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major ("Spring"), Op. 38
I went expecting to have my usual pleasant time.

What happened instead, though, was that I found myself genuinely happy to hear the orchestra. I realized I've come to love the soaring moments when an orchestra is playing as one, the air swelling with the sound, the music building and dipping and building again. I close my eyes, typically rock my head slightly to what I perceive to be the beat of the moment or sometimes just the way it feels, and I ride the music like a surfer on a wave.

I don't plan to buy a lot of classical albums or start studying that music, but for the first time in my life I'm wondering if it might not be worth catching the occasional symphony. (Wondering, mind you, not acting; the show I'll be seeing Sunday night will be Frightened Rabbit's concert. Sarah introduced me to their music, and she and I are going to see them live.)

Add that growing appreciation to the long list of things I owe my kids.


Todd said...

Ah - music!

I've been a musician since I was a little one, which culminated in founding a 30 piece British Brass Band. Now I am starting another!

With friends in many fields (from jazz to flamenco to opera), I recommend that you attend as many different performances as you can. It's all worthwhile, and you'll learn what music you really do or do not love, live.

Cynthia Hyde Abbott said...

PROUD father for sure, as it should be. You've been blessed. Enjoy this time, as they grow up way to FAST.

Mark said...

Todd, you may well be right. I am certainly interested in learning more.

Your band sounds cool. Any available recordings?

Mark said...

Mimi, I am proud of them, and I am enjoying my time with them as much as I can.

Todd said...

Mark said...

Todd, that's cool. Thanks.


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