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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Fri 22 May 2015, 19:46

I see that the BBC are expanding their last year's '10 Pieces' program, which was aimed at promoting classical music in primary schools, to this year focusing on encouraging an appreciation of classical music amongst teenagers.

BBC : Ten Pieces - Secondary

Their repertoire for secondary schools is:

J. S. Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Bernstein - 'Mambo' from Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story'
Bizet - 'Habanera' and 'Toreador Song' from 'Carmen'
Anna Clyne - Night Ferry
Haydn - Trumpet Concerto (3rd movement)
Gabriel Prokofiev - Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (5th movement)
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10 (2nd movement)
Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending
Verdi - 'Dies Irae' and 'Tuba Mirum' from 'Requiem'
Wagner - 'Ride of the Valkyries' from 'Die Walküre'

Now, ignoring the fact that over half of those pieces are not actually what one would strictly call 'classical', and accepting that it is necessarily a limited list of just ten pieces ... I still find it a rather bizarre choice, given what the BBC are claiming they want to achieve. On one hand I feel that maybe the route to making classical music accessible to teenagers might well be via film and PC games  ... but hey 'Apocalyspe Now' with it's stunning use of the 'Ride of the Valkyries', was made over 30 years ago, so, it ain't really a contemporary film is it?  And on the other hand I rather feel we are doing a disservice to young people if we insist on serving up classical music like McDonalds burgers, in the most palatable simplified and edited form possible, just because "we" assume "they" won’t understand it. Are we really saying teenagers cannot understand the emotion of a Mozart opera or the passion of a Beethoven Symphony?

But hey, we all have our preferences (and Priscilla I'm sure will be pleased by the inclusion of Haydn's Trumpet concerto and a Shostakovich symphony). But what pieces would you suggest, and perhaps more importantly, why? This isn't about what we old codgers might personally like ... but what we think would inspire and encourage teenagers to look at and appreciate, classical music? Thoughts or suggestions anyone?


PS : And I deliberately didn't make this a new thread because people may well want to scroll back through the past posts on this thread to see what once fired them up about classical music.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Fri 22 May 2015, 21:33

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Fri 22 May 2015, 22:08

Yes Gil: 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ... very good music, but why would that on its own encourage teenagers to listen to and then to further explore classical music? You might well have been inspired by Emerson, Lake & Palmer ... but that was over 30 years ago ... and their music is almost as rarely heard amongst current teenagers, as is Mozart!

But if it inspired you, then what was it about that particular music that did it for you ? And if it was so good why doesn't it inspire teenagers today .. or does it still?

And as an aside I can't think ALL teenagers, even in these times, are quite so ignorant of classical music. When I was about 14, 15; 16 yrs old, my school orchestra performed 'The Great Gate of Kiev' and Beethoven's 'Hymn of Joy' (from his 5th symphony) amongst other pieces, we also put on full stage performances of 'Oklahoma' and 'Oliver' .

Perhaps I'm moving way off my own OP, but maybe the current "problem" with modern teenagers is that there is no money or inclination for parents to pay for 'extra-curricular' stuff like music and piano lessons after school. Private piano lessons are certainly not a priority when one lives off welfare and foodbanks. I count myself very lucky to have been taught to read music by my parents at only a little after I was taught to read English and do basic maths .... and all that before my first day at school. And they continued to pay for private music lessons until I was 18. And for that I am forever thankful.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sat 23 May 2015, 00:16

The trend nowadays is for whole-class music. That means (usually) something like a samba band - loud and fun, but is it music? Many (most in this area) have clubs - guitar, recorder, ukulele for example, run by teachers (very cheap if not free). My route in was via my father, a semi-pro clarinet / sax player so jazz, swing, bebop, so I recall hearing him practice (with the dog howling along Seamus style) The singing lessons (again whole class) at school never really took - I couldn't see the point of "From Lucerne to Weggis Blue" even though it remains seared into my soul 60 years later. Classical came later, around the same time as pop/rock. Listening is not the way in - performing is!

BTW - the idea of the Tomita was that it is all synth, so they can try to emulate the sounds and effects using a bit of freeware and a normal pc.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sat 23 May 2015, 11:06

@Meles meles wrote:
Now, ignoring the fact that over half of those pieces are not actually what one would strictly call 'classical'

Yes - the term 'classical music' now seems to be used widely to mean orchestral music. My music teacher at school insisted that we differentiate between the various eras of orchestral music - i.e. Baroque, Classical and Romantic etc although I suspect that he was fighting a losing battle even then and knew it himself. Sigh. I suppose the distinction now between 'classical' (lower case) for all orchestral music and 'Classical' (upper case) for the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven etc is probably the remnant of that terminology definition polemic.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sat 23 May 2015, 12:34

It's ironic that possibly the largest cohort of children receiving a first class musical education up here is one of the most deprived. The Sistema concept has been imported from Venezuela and is running so far in two areas of severe multiple deprivation. Starting with the little ones, they are now at the stage of tackling full scale orchestral works.

http://makeabignoise.org.uk/sistema-scotland/





When I was at school, learning an instrument was free and available to all. I played the clarinet exceptionally badly, but at home, pre-telly, in the evenings the 78 collection came out and from as far back as I can remember I heard overtures, arias, ballet music and even Gregorian chant. The thing is, that wasn't unusual in a very ordinary Glasgow home, my husband had listened to much the same selection.
I also went to SNO concerts in the St. Andrew's Halls of blessed memory with friends, I can't recall if that was free for pupils but I suspect it was.

Today I imagine that the youngsters hear more classical music, be-it only in snatches, than ever before - ads, background music, games - but does that stimulate their interest or just devalue it by familiarity and association?
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sun 24 May 2015, 17:45

Re films and teenagers and classical music - Beethoven suddenly became very trendy in the 1970s after the release of A Clockwork Orange - unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Other classical music featured in the film:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(soundtrack)



Brass bands must have helped lots of kids get interested in classical music in the past and it's nice to know the brass band tradition is still going strong.

Brass bands, ballet and the miners' strike are an unlikely - but interesting - combination: the BBC's Will Gompertz reports here on a new ballet featuring the Tredegar Town Band from Wales.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-32730704
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sun 24 May 2015, 18:13

I think any playing together is the best way to "get into" music. It's fun and people (of all ages) seem to get swept up in the joy of making music as a group, and they rarely seem to worry about what the style of music is. At school, while we all talked about Pink Floyd, T-Rex, the Stones, Abba, Simon & Garfunkle, Kate Bush, or whoever ...  in the brass band we were all quite happy to play cheesy old numbers like, 'See the conquering hero comes', 'Sussex by the Sea', or 'The Floral Dance' ... even indeed good old Sally Army type hymns.

I was quite surprised to learn that there's an amateur brass band in a nearby village that just gets together every Sunday morning for the fun of playing together. Arnaud, one of the village lads goes there with his brother (both are trumpet players), together with their mate David, the son of the butcher who plays trombone I think. Since they found out I used to play trumpet too (and still have said instrument) they keep trying to get me to go along with them ... but I'd have to get some serious practice in first if only to get some strength back into my soft, floppy 'embouchure'. I'm sure it would be fun.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sun 24 May 2015, 18:46

@Meles meles wrote:
... but I'd have to get some serious practice in first if only to get some strength back into my soft, floppy 'embouchure'. I'm sure it would be fun.


Don't you worry about any soft, floppy embouchure issues, MM - I'm sure Arnaud and David find you excellent company - and you'll soon wow them with your trumpet-playing and excellent knowledge about music. You go along and enjoy yourself (God, I sound like your mum, don't I - sorry!).
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Sun 24 May 2015, 21:26

https://www.facebook.com/SomeoneAtTheDoor

We get all ages - almost anyone can shake a ganza.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Mon 25 May 2015, 04:29

This thread is about what turns people on to classical music; I wonder more what doesn't.  I learnt the piano for 10 years, reasonably proficiently, though certainly I managed the theory better than the practical.  My grandmother played the piano too and played in a band (called an orchestra in those days, but there was just three of them).  My father just played music by ear, which probably doesn't count.

But we didn't listen to classical music; our radio was tuned to the commercial station and we heard all the popular music of the day.  Considering my grandmother was about 75 when I entered my teens she was very au fait with pop music.  I know by tune the popular classical pieces, and learnt some of bits of them, even won a competition playing some Bach.  But generally I don't know or understand classical music, or know what pieces are composed by what composers (except by knowing it from writing. I know Vivaldi wrote The Four Seasons, but do I automatically recognise The Four Seasons when I hear it?  I don't think so.) or recognise the names/numbers of sonatas or symphonies etc. 

It feels a lack in my life, but not one I have bothered to address.  We had music at secondary school, but the main purpose of those seemed to be to see if we could make the teacher cry.  I do feel that in my ten years of piano learning I could have done with less of my amateur playing, and more listening to brilliant music.  (Though when I did go to concerts, I generally was rather bored after half an hour, but perhaps if someone had walked me through the music and explained it more, talked of the different periods etc, it might have been different.  My first art appreciation came not from art teachers, but from our French teacher talking mostly about the Impressionists.  But the only miusic I remember from French lessons was the Marseillaise.) 

I think the BBC is probably on the right track using a limited number of musical pieces for students to learn about.  If you know nothing about a subject then learning it little by little is better than being bombarded by far too much information.
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Mon 25 May 2015, 10:27

@Temperance wrote:
Re films and teenagers and classical music - Beethoven suddenly became very trendy in the 1970s after the release of A Clockwork Orange - unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Other classical music featured in the film:





Also from the early 70s, this one was very popular;Vaughn Williams Symphony No 6 as the title music;

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Classical Music   Mon 25 May 2015, 18:12

Caro :
I think you have hit on an important point - we did have some records played in music class - and 30-40 minutes is probably the max that youngsters should be exposed to at a sitting.
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