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The Classical Music Conundrum

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


Classical music is a treasure trove of human creativity, expressing the depths of emotion and the intricacies of composition. It has the power to inspire, soothe, and uplift. However, many young children often exhibit resistance to classical music. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons behind this reluctance, exploring the results of relevant research, and proposing ways in which schools can ignite a passion for classical music in their students.


Several factors contribute to young children's initial aversion to classical music, including:

  1. Lack of Familiarity: Young children are more likely to enjoy music they are familiar with. Classical music, which is often characterized by intricate compositions, can feel foreign and challenging to them.

  2. Complexity and Attention Span: Classical compositions tend to be longer and require sustained attention and patience. Young children, with their shorter attention spans, may find it challenging to engage with these pieces. Children's musical preferences are influenced by their cognitive development. Young children tend to prefer simple and repetitive melodies, making classical music less appealing due to its complexity and variation.

  3. Absence of Lyrics: Many classical compositions are instrumental, lacking the lyrics that often serve as a point of connection for young children with more contemporary music. Lyrics in music convey emotions, stories, and messages, providing a relatable and personal connection for listeners, making songs a powerful tool for expression, empathy, and communication. Without them, children can often find it harder to connect to the music.

  4. Peer Influence: Children are easily influenced by their peers. If their friends do not listen to or enjoy classical music, they will be less inclined to do so as well.

  5. Exposure: Lack of early exposure to classical music can significantly impact a child's interest. If they have never been introduced to it, they are less likely to develop an affinity for it. The role of parents in shaping a child's musical taste is pivotal. Children tend to mirror their parents' preferences, so parents who expose their children to classical music can help instill an early love for it.


So, how can schools foster an appreciation and love of classical music in this day and age? Schools play a crucial role in shaping students' cultural and artistic appreciation. To encourage young children to embrace classical music, educators and institutions can employ various strategies and approaches:


Early Exposure and Education

One of the most effective ways to foster an appreciation for classical music is to introduce it early in a child's education. Schools can incorporate classical music into their curriculum, ensuring that children are exposed to a variety of composers and compositions. Educational field trips to concerts and performances can also be highly beneficial, as they provide children with a firsthand experience of the music's magic.


Interactive Learning

To make classical music more engaging, schools can employ interactive and creative teaching methods. This may include storytelling sessions about famous composers and their lives, hands-on experiences with musical instruments, or collaborative class projects that involve listening and responding to classical pieces. Interactive learning helps children connect with the music on a personal level. Listening and responding to classical music should be part of the school's music curriculum.


Connection

Encouraging children to connect emotionally with classical music can be a transformative approach. Teachers can discuss the emotions conveyed in the music and encourage children to express their feelings about the music. This not only makes the music more relatable but also allows children to see classical music as a means of self-expression. In an ever-squeezed timetable, giving classical music room to play and be appreciated is becoming harder and harder to do. Classical composers do not have to be the traditionally studied ones either: Ethel Smyth, Hans Zimmer, A.R. Rahman or Anna Clyne all offer more modern approaches to the genre, whilst the Kanneh-Mason's, Florence Price, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Chinary Ung and countless other composers can demonstrate the diversity of classical composers.


Integration with Other Subjects

Schools can integrate classical music with other subjects to create cross-curricular connections. For instance, history classes can explore the historical context of classical compositions, and science classes can delve into the physics of sound and musical instruments. These connections can make classical music more relevant and intriguing to young minds.


Music Appreciation Programs

Establishing music appreciation programs within schools can provide children with a well-rounded musical education. These programs can include a mix of classical, jazz, pop, and world music, giving children a chance to explore various genres and styles. This diversity can help bridge the gap between their existing preferences and classical music.


Encourage Parental Involvement

Parents are powerful influencers when it comes to children's music preferences. Schools can host workshops or information sessions for parents to help them understand the benefits of introducing classical music to their children. Encouraging parents to listen to classical music at home and attend classical concerts with their children can create a supportive environment for musical exploration.


While it is true that young children may not immediately gravitate toward classical music, schools can play a pivotal role in nurturing their appreciation for this rich and diverse genre. By providing early exposure, employing interactive teaching methods, creating emotional connections, integrating with other subjects, and involving parents in the process, schools can help children develop a lifelong love for classical music. Through a well-rounded musical education, students can not only gain an appreciation for classical music but also broaden their horizons and develop a deeper understanding of the beauty of the art form.



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