07. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes

To master an acoustic instrument requires good teaching and a lot of practise, and it is possible to make pleasant sounds quicker on an electric keyboard then on a real piano. But it seems to me that most young people relish a challenge (this is the hardest mountain to climb, book to read, puzzle to solve, club to join etc.) so why do we think that pretending classical music is ‘easy’ will gain us more youthful listeners or performers? You want to learn an instrument? Well, you could go for the simpler options but have you got the concentration to learn the cello? It will take years of utter dedication and total commitment. Maybe you just want to go with the crowd? Maybe it’s too difficult for you?

Yes, classical music is … difficult. It’s difficult to listen to, difficult to understand fully, difficult to play, as a Shakespeare drama is harder to understand than a dramatic episode of (albeit fabulous) Coronation Street. Everyone should have access to classical music, but not everyone will like it. Nothing wrong in that, nothing snobbish or superior or elite in that, but are you up to it? Can you sit still for 40 minutes and let yourself be captivated, intoxicated, moved, changed, perplexed by this complex, extraordinary world?

Classical music is dangerous, disturbing, radical, countercultural. Sadly when many of us reach middle age we not only lose the inner passion to aim high in life but, ironically, we are at that very moment given the responsibility to decide what younger generations should be doing. If we can only tap into the exhilarating fire kindled by listening to and playing great music then sofas will be empty when The X Factor is being screened and we’ll hardly be able to cope with the sheer number of kids practising their hearts out.

-Stephen Hough

RTWT

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