Monday, May 14, 2012

Classical music is just not ‘fun’?

K1 and K2 have been taking piano lessons for a few years now going through the usual classical approach. We’ve also sat through many recitals and classical concerts and thought I’ve enjoyed them - some more than others, I’ve noticed that the atmosphere at most of these events is one of stiffness, seriousness and stuffiness. The performers themselves seem more interested in proving how technically adept they are rather than having fun performing. (There are exceptions - Lang Lang is one.)

Getting K1 and K2 to practice can also be difficult as any parent especially Tiger Mother can attest. Even when they do practice, there is a lack of joy in their playing that comes through - and by this I mean exuberance, delight, just pure joy of the music. Is classical music training destroying their appreciation?
Is this lack of fun more because of the instrument or the tradition? What happens when classical instruments cross over to the pop/rock field? One obvious example is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. There are others:
  1. David Garrett - violin
  2. These two duelling cello dudes playing Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal
  3. Wired Strings - violins/cellos: Violins with Kanye West? May be better with Adele!
  4. Piano guys - cello/piano. My favorite? What do you get when you cross Adele with Holst? Bach with seven cellos? These guys rock!
Update (5/15/2010): Here is one of the perhaps more talented kids that are in the same music school as K1 and K2. There are other videos of her on YouTube as well but mostly I was struck by the intense concentration and grace but not enjoyment.

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