In the first episode, we look at what makes classical music different to play and listen to from other styles and talk about who listens to it. Although some future episodes will cover rock/pop/jazz, there will be a lot of emphasis on classical music.
We discuss some of the problems with classical music and why some people may be intimidated or put off by it.

Show Notes

  • What is classical music? Distinction between classical music and Classical era music which is a sub-genre of classical music!! How to listen to classical music. [3:53]
  • Who is the audience for classical music? Why are there so few young people at concerts? TV & film tropes concerning classical music. Emotion & energy in classical music. Declining music education in the UK. Demographics of young people listening to classical music.[20:30]
  • The importance of visual cues to appreciate musical expression in audiences without a musical education. [36:44]
  • Layers and counterpoint in classical music vs. more simple textures in other music. [48:45]
  • Classical music as soothing aural wallpaper, and different ways of listening. [51:54]
  • Using classical music as a ‘weapon’ against young people [54:47]
  • Piano and gender! [56:31]
  • Young audiences preferring young performers [1:00:48]
  • Ritual piano smashing after the popularisation and availability of TV [1:02:22]
  • Generation Z and classical music [1:05:53]

A few extra notes:

At [0:40]- sorry Andy- you’ve played keyboards at a high level for a long time, I really meant to say classical music at a serious high level!

Sorry to listeners not from the UK- I’ll be more careful with this in future podcasts:

  • Classic FM is a radio station in the UK that plays very unchallenging classical music for the masses(!)
  • GCSEs are the exams people take when they’re 16.
  • Young Musician of the Year is a music competition run by the BBC that has large viewing figures and is an important UK institution.

The introduction music is me playing my own arrangement of the 3rd movement from Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony on a Yamaha P105 digital piano (hopefully I’ll make a better recording on a nice grand piano at some point!)


Classic FM:-

The decline of music in UK schools:-

Dopamine, music and food:-

Dopamine and sugar:-
(can we similarly be addicted to very ‘sugary’, refined and simple music?)

TV Tropes:-

More young people listening to classical music:-

Classic FM Demographics with increasing numbers of young people:-

The cellist who won 2016 Young Musician of the Year and shot to fame by playing at the recent royal wedding:-

Using classical music as a weapon against young people:-

Not mentioned in the podcast- but even at a high level in classical music it seems that visual communication matters!:-

I’ve not read this book, but it looks interesting- for me particularly looking at the masculinity of Liszt- this may be a great idea for a future podcast- I’ve given a lecture before on the striking parallels between Liszt and 80s rock guitar heroes:-

El Sistema:-

Gustavo Dudamel in a very lively clip with an uncharacteristically enthusiastic young audience!:-

A comparison between film music and classical music- listen to this film music often played on Classic FM:-
and compare it with the original orchestral version of the piece I play in the intro and closing moments of this podcast:-
the film music is beautiful, but listen to the amount of layers and different lines going on, and how the structure is always evolving rather than playing very simple static tunes over and over.