Wednesday, 12 January 2011
"Oh, no," she said, "I won't give up my piano. I love to go and play it. I love classical music - don't you?"
Now, I like to think that I have a broad appreciation of music. And yes, part of that is liking classical music. I love it's soothing tones and clever cadences; I love the way it can take me away from where I am to the middle of a battle or a love scene or a desert island; I love the fact that it doesn't finish in less than four minutes, as a general rule, but can sustain attention for long periods of time.
Yet, when put on the spot, all I could think was: I choose to listen to Radio 2. I choose the pop songs of my teenage years. I choose fun and upbeat, something with regular time-checks in order that I get the children to school before the bell.
I don't choose classical music.
Then, yesterday, at teatime I was listening to Radio 4 and my ten year old boy decided it wasn't for him. (It wasn't really, at that point, for me either: I just couldn't be bothered to cross to the other side of the room and switch channels.)
"Radio 3," he said, "is that classical music?"
"Yes," I reply.
"Urgghhh!" he exclaims. "I hate classical music. What about Radio 1? Is that pop music?"
"Erm... yes," I reply, and quick as a flash he has changed it over.
So tea was accompanied by a dull, thumping base and a whiny synthesiser overtones. That description makes it sound a lot worse than it was (I am, actually, physically capable of walking over and switching the radio off!) but I didn't spot much of a melody. It was a slight shock to realise that shortly I am going to lose my children to this tuneless beat.
Yet what surprised me most was my son's dismissal of classical music - or, more accurately, my immediate defense of the same type of music I had struggled to appreciate two days earlier.
"You shouldn't dismiss classical music, boy. Classical music is great. It has a lot of feeling and emotion, and great tunes and..." I stumbled through.
Am I a music hypocrite? Or just someone with wide and varied tastes? Or (and this is most likely) someone who likes different things at different times in different circumstances?
And how am I going to teach my son to appreciate classical music?
Time to dig out the Tchaikovsky CDs and go to a couple of concerts, I think!