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Jacob Cannon (Jake)

000422881
CRN: 26874
January 25th, 2016
Essay #1
Classical Music: A Great Choice Out of Many
Classical music is in turmoil in our society. Its once prominent place in culture,
including church services, government affairs, and public entertainment, has been
overtaken by the vast expanse of musical genres available. Everyone has different
preferences, tastes, and ideas about music. Society is so bombarded by the variety of
music available that classical music has become the other style of music, only listened to
by classically trained musicians or high society aristocrats. The reality, as I see it, is
that classical music still has a place in our society. Its not the same place that it once had,
but that does not demean the beauty, complexity, and listener experience that classical
music provides.
Music teachers worldwide feel the need to make classical music relevant and
interesting to the current generation of students. As a music education major, I empathize
with this sentiment; I want students to see the complexity of Bachs four part inventions
and appreciate the masterfully composed polyphony of Handel. However, this does not
mean that we have to relate classical music to popular music. They are different, and that
is a very good and wonderful thing. Yes, Beethoven used a I-V-vi-IV progression in
several of his piano sonatas, but that doesnt mean that we have to compare these works
to the Beatles Let It Be. And yes, Bachs choral motets contain many close harmonies
and sustained chords, but that doesnt mean we have to compare their timbre with that of
Queens Bohemian Rhapsody. I think it is important to state that popular music is an
offspring of classical music; composers from the classical world influenced many of the
artists we know and love today. That fact does not mean that we have to shove these
comparisons in students faces to make them appreciate classical music. I have a different
approach.
Classical music is very different from any popular musical styles. The
instruments, timbre, texture, and overall feeling is much different from anything thats on
the radio or on a young persons Spotify playlist. That is good because classical music
doesnt have to be what someone likes; it can be what they appreciate as a musician. The
technical skills involved in playing most classical repertoire are fairly advanced. Popular
music contains its own challenges, but they are not the same as classical. Classical music
provides challenges such as fast scalar runs, played fluidly; intense and precise dynamic
changes; challenging tempi and frustrating key signatures. These staples of the genre
should be introduced my music teachers worldwide as differences from popular music.
Instead of saying, Lets listen to how Beethovens chord progressions influenced the
Beatles, or, Do you hear how this Rachmaninoff string concerto sounds like that Sam
Smith song? Lets address the issue like this: Do you hear how that sopranos tone is
very different form Mariah Carey, and how she had to train rigorously to sing that way?
or, Lets analyze the harmonic structure of this Haydn symphony and see how it was
groundbreaking in its era. These chords are so different from anything we hear today!

Exposing the uniqueness of classical music shows the reason why it is so valuable: there
is truly nothing like it! If we, as educators and as music lovers, revel in the differences
between musical genres then we can truly appreciate why they are great on their own.
Beyonc is very different from Mozart, so lets not try to compare them too much. Let
classical music be its own genre; special because there is nothing like it.
Classical music has undergone a shift: from mainstream entertainment to high art
that is regarded as weird or boring. This issue doesnt have to be negative. By
expressing the musical differences heard between classical and popular genres, classical
music could become fun and entertaining to the masses again. If people focused on
the technical skills and different experiences tied to classical music, I feel they would
enjoy it more. I know that classical music can never return to the glory that it achieved in
the day of Mozart or even Rachmaninoff, but that is perfectly fine. Classical music is
successful through its uniqueness. Classical music is a great choice for listening,
studying, or performingbut never forget that it is a great choice out of many. And that
multitude of choices it what makes music so exciting!