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Classical music doesn’t care if you think it is long and boring

Immature and Selfish, the bill has come due

The immature and selfish are not welcome at San Diego Symphony Hall.
The immature and selfish are not welcome at San Diego Symphony Hall.

Immature and selfish. Are there any two more undesirable attributes? You might say cruel and unfeeling but cruel and unfeeling are just different iterations of immature and selfish.

As positive as I feel I’ve tried to be of late, it is time to recognize that there are no two words that describe our culture better than immature and selfish. It’s been going on for quite some time and the bill has now come due.

I think classical music was the first to feel the squeeze of these two colossal character flaws. I should first give a description of what immature and selfish are. I’m going to use the Dhammapada as my source.

Video:

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...the 13 worst of all time

“The immature are their own enemies, doing selfish deeds which will bring them sorrow. That deed is selfish which brings remorse and suffering in its wake...

"Sweet are selfish deeds to the immature until they see the results; when they see the results, they suffer...

"As fresh milk needs time to curdle, a selfish deed takes time to bring sorrow in its wake. Like fire smoldering under the ashes, slowly does it burn the immature.

"Even if they pick up a little knowledge, the immature misuse it and break their heads instead of benefiting from it.

"The immature go after false prestige...and praise from all. ‘Listen, monks and householders, I can do this; I can do that. I am right and you are wrong.’ Thus their pride and passion increase.”

At it’s best, classical music is a context in which the immature and selfish cannot exist. In order to participate in classical music a performer must have the maturity to at least learn all the notes. An audience member must have the maturity to at least sit through them. Beyond that, the best performers are those who have an attitude of service not selfishness.

Classical music doesn’t care if you think it is long and boring. If you think such things you are clearly immature and selfish and will go find an item that fulfills and oftentimes legitimizes those characteristics.

As the immature and selfish have become not just prevalent but celebrated, as is the case in the rampantly popular genre of reality TV, classical music has been marginalized because it fails to feed the two-headed monster that is our selfie culture.

The issues with classical music, in the United States, are not the rise of technology or the lack of education but the disturbing inclusion of immaturity and selfishness as virtues. One can become the President of the United States with such virtues.

You might think it unfair to slip a political jab in, but do I need to remind you who will be presiding over the Kennedy Center Honors this December? Policies aside, there can be no denying the immature and selfish qualities that this man has displayed for his entire public life.

This is where I’m supposed to give a little ray of hope for the future, but if you’ve read this far then you're probably able to generate your own hope. Only the immature and the selfish need to have hope generated for them by another.

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The immature and selfish are not welcome at San Diego Symphony Hall.
The immature and selfish are not welcome at San Diego Symphony Hall.

Immature and selfish. Are there any two more undesirable attributes? You might say cruel and unfeeling but cruel and unfeeling are just different iterations of immature and selfish.

As positive as I feel I’ve tried to be of late, it is time to recognize that there are no two words that describe our culture better than immature and selfish. It’s been going on for quite some time and the bill has now come due.

I think classical music was the first to feel the squeeze of these two colossal character flaws. I should first give a description of what immature and selfish are. I’m going to use the Dhammapada as my source.

Video:

Reality TV show fights

...the 13 worst of all time

...the 13 worst of all time

“The immature are their own enemies, doing selfish deeds which will bring them sorrow. That deed is selfish which brings remorse and suffering in its wake...

"Sweet are selfish deeds to the immature until they see the results; when they see the results, they suffer...

"As fresh milk needs time to curdle, a selfish deed takes time to bring sorrow in its wake. Like fire smoldering under the ashes, slowly does it burn the immature.

"Even if they pick up a little knowledge, the immature misuse it and break their heads instead of benefiting from it.

"The immature go after false prestige...and praise from all. ‘Listen, monks and householders, I can do this; I can do that. I am right and you are wrong.’ Thus their pride and passion increase.”

At it’s best, classical music is a context in which the immature and selfish cannot exist. In order to participate in classical music a performer must have the maturity to at least learn all the notes. An audience member must have the maturity to at least sit through them. Beyond that, the best performers are those who have an attitude of service not selfishness.

Classical music doesn’t care if you think it is long and boring. If you think such things you are clearly immature and selfish and will go find an item that fulfills and oftentimes legitimizes those characteristics.

As the immature and selfish have become not just prevalent but celebrated, as is the case in the rampantly popular genre of reality TV, classical music has been marginalized because it fails to feed the two-headed monster that is our selfie culture.

The issues with classical music, in the United States, are not the rise of technology or the lack of education but the disturbing inclusion of immaturity and selfishness as virtues. One can become the President of the United States with such virtues.

You might think it unfair to slip a political jab in, but do I need to remind you who will be presiding over the Kennedy Center Honors this December? Policies aside, there can be no denying the immature and selfish qualities that this man has displayed for his entire public life.

This is where I’m supposed to give a little ray of hope for the future, but if you’ve read this far then you're probably able to generate your own hope. Only the immature and the selfish need to have hope generated for them by another.

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Comments
4

I love classical music, and listen to it quite frequently. But I don't think articles like this help bring people to it.

Classic music needs to not see itself in opposition to popular music, but as a different form of entertainment entirely. Popular music may get the body moving, but classical music is a banquet for the mind and soul. The complex melodies, rhythms, and harmonies may take some time to appreciate, but really all you need do is let them carry you along for the ride.

Like the theme music from Star Wars? Classical music all the way, and there's a rich universe of music waiting for your discovery. From Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker to Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries to Beethoven's 9th, you're probably more familiar with classical music than you realize. Listen to Rachmaninoff's piano concertos and you'll find yourself humming popular music tunes...plus find one of the most romantic pieces of music imaginable.

Classical music has a lot to offer, all you need do is lend it your ears.

Feb. 4, 2017

That's all well and good and I'm pretty sure I've written about everything which you bring up. The fact remains that we live in a selfish and immature culture and classical music approaches this culture as a beggar hoping for some scraps of attention--casting its pearls before swine. It's time to own up to the fact that classical music is only inaccessible to the boorish and ignorant and that our mass and social medias promote an atmosphere of boorish ignorance. I'm not trying to make classical music less than it is in order to make the peasants appreciate it. I want the peasants to ascend. How to do that? Well that's the trick isn't it?

Feb. 6, 2017

I agree as a Jazz musician with classical education. Classical music shouldn't be seen as an OPPOSITE to popular but as a DIFFERENT parallel alternative and a really amazing one. On the other hand I think the biggest dislike towards the classical music of many people now a days comes from the a certain aura created "as a wrong stereotype" around it. Classical musicians were always the bohemian voice of the society. Mozart was a crazy bohemian womanizer genius not a posh snobbish guy. Genuine people tend to get interest for the music that makes them feel welcome or surprised and then they start understanding the complexity with time not the other way round. Most of the people "70%" you find in concert halls now a days don't even have a clue what they are listening to and they just go there to pretend to be very knowledgeable and look down their nose on those who are being honest to say they don't understand it. I will tell you a story I had in London once. I was on a tour and after the performance I was having a cigarette outside and there was
this lady with a really posh accent telling me the she had a vinyl version of that piece performed by some else and telling me with really sophisticated manners that it was great. Funny facts 1- She didn't even realized I was the pianist, but OK that was a big orchestra I can understand it and I am a jazz player so I tend to be more reserve in classical performances because my main instrument is the saxophone not piano. Funny fact 2 It was impossible for her to have a vinyl version of that piece or any version for that matter because it was an original written by me for the tour. After that I decided never to perform in a that sort of venue any more. The only close to classical things I compose now a day are for TV programs. Well I still love classical music. If I being a musician feel that way, what else can you expect from someone who just wants to go to see for the first time and has to deal with that sort of people. I know it shouldn't be a problem for you listen to the music but that's a human nature. Many of the classical music haters don't really hate classical music, they hate the atmosphere around it and that's why they don't even try to listen to it. There are some other factors even between musicians but that's a whole different story to tell. By the way I am German, sorry if I made many mistakes in English :)

Feb. 20, 2017

Most of us are introduced to classical music via cartoons or movies. From Warner Brothers and Fantasia to big instrumental movie scores. We get the big visuals and laughs that help us create those connections in our brain. When we hear that music later, our minds tend to bring up images we are already familiar with. We see E.T. and Elliott on the bike flying through the night sky. We see Mickey Mouse chopping up the broom carrying the water buckets. We see Bugs Bunny smacking Elmer Fudd with a big stick.

Many people lack the ability to hear a piece of music and create the visual image to go along with it. To sit and listen to a string orchestra play chamber music is difficult for people who have never learned to explore their creativity and see where the music takes them.

Feb. 6, 2017

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