• Alyna Ooi

An Introduction to Classical Music: Listening (Part III)

The last part on how to appreciate classical music.

Music in general has become a 'side kick' for other activities. When we jog, walk, study, or drive, we kill silence with music. We rarely sit and just listen to music. The beat of rock, hip hop and basses bounces with our guts. But this type of music doesn't work well with classical music, with many shades of volume, mainly known by musicians as dynamics. Classical music is like going on an adventure that you have to find the path to on your own, with many hidden gems to be uncovered.

Here's to listening classical music step-by-step:

1. Listen for melody and rhythms

As we all know, classical music does not have lyrics. Lyrics are not a pleasure to enjoy here. The only pleasure in classical is the iterations and variations on a melody. You will have to find the main tune and listen to how it evolves.

2. Find the emotion

Without the help of names and lyrics to the pieces, you have absolutely no idea on what the music says. To understand it, you will have to - listen. Try asking yourself: what is this piece about? For instance, is it full with anger, excitement, nostalgia, rage or grief?

3. Imagination

Imagination is key. Try to visualize and imagine the movement. Close your eyes and try to imagine the sceneries, the colors and never limit yourselves. The sky's the limit!

4. Trust your taste

Trust your instincts. Find a favorite part. You may find some composers that suit your taste and some that might not. The point is to make the music yours.

5. Repetition, repetition, repetition

Classical music takes time. More than most music nowadays. It's natural to listen to a piece for a few times. If you find yourself continually drawn back to a composition that you don't understand, keep listening.

Classical music does not make a particular statement, often immersive, often longer than other forms. Classical music starts with you. I urge those exploring classical music to find out whatever they can. Let it be your 'side kick' if you really have to. Pressing 'play' is only what you need to do. I believe that there is very little in life that music can't beautifully complement. We need music, music to live to, to live your best life. All the best to you now :)


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