About neuroscience and music (mainly classical). Exploring the relationship of music and the brain based on experience of two careers.

July 15, 2013

Disdain for Classical Music

An hour before last night’s performance the musicians had taken showers in our little downstairs motel, dressed, and were loading their car for the trip to the Playhouse (with no showers and too few dressing rooms). 

Relatives unexpectedly dropped in after dining on sandwiches at the Jigger Shop. The line at the ice cream bar was far too long so they had time to kill. 

“We’re going to the concert,” they said. 

Taken aback by the intention, atypical for this particular group, I asked, “the concert?” 

“We go to a Tabernacle concert every summer.” 

“What’s playing,” I asked. 

“Don’t know, but we go every year.” (I looked it up: they were singing hymns in the Tabernacle last night.) 

“Do you like to sing?” I asked. 


“I have a proposition for you,” I said as we watched the three young musicians carry their instruments to their car, the women wearing colorful long silk dresses. “I’ll drive you to our concert, park right in front, and give you tickets” (to hear Beethoven, Shostakovich and Schubert).

Steadfast resistance mixed with irritation. They would never in their wildest dreams go to a “classical music” concert.

They drove off to the Tabernacle.

I sensed actual disdain and assume it to be fairly common among the public. I see it on the faces of people passing the back of the open Playhouse during concerts and rehearsals, but was a little surprised when it came from a relative to whom we have repeatedly extended hospitality. 

I would react similarly if encouraged to go to a NASCAR race or a tractor pull. So maybe the resistance has something to do with fearing hours of enforced boredom. Oh yes: cultural, educational, socio-economic, etc, etc.

It’s so sad. The concert by the Trio Terzetto proved to be one of our best in many years. The elite cognoscenti in the audience, here in rural Buggyland, went wild.

As Paul Krugman said today about behavior in our government: “I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.”

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