How to Listen to Classical Music: Symphony 101

How to Enjoy a Classical Concert


  1. Attend any classical music concerts.When you purchase the tickets, try to get orchestra seats. Read the program booklet that is handed to you, to acquaint yourself with the musicians as well as the director. They also have a some information regarding the music and composers.
  2. Watch how they move in the flow, how they lose themselves in the music, how they sweat, wave, how they become one with the music.Pay special attention to parts of the orchestra; for instance, the conductor can be amazing to watch. Focus on the wind instruments, or the second violins or the cello players. Pick various parts of the orchestra to see if you can hear their particular sound qualities and to identify them. Marvel at how so many different sounding instruments can come together and sound so harmonious.
  3. Appreciate the solo artist.Imagine the brilliance of the solo player to get this far, being singled out from amongst a group of other brilliant musicians. Try to identify why their playing is extra special over and above that of the orchestra's playing.
  4. One wonderful thing about classical music is that it encompasses all feelings:confusion, love, happiness, rage, sorrow, guilt, etc. and includes numerous other genres within it as well, such as various types of dances, military music, folk songs and uses different forms that can be roughly equated with the different ways types of poems are structured. Reflect on the music and think about your life, and how you relate to the music. Songs don't need to have words for you to be able to relate to them!

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  • Be encouraging of children learning musical instruments. Music is an important part of a child's life that is often overlooked. Music can bring out a part of a child that nobody realized existed and it can give some children new meaning in life. Be supportive of their first forays into an orchestra - it can sound less than ideal but they're all learning and doing their best.
  • If at all possible, listen to the music prior to when you arrive in the concert hall. You will tend to appreciate music more if you recognize it. It is often possible to obtain program notes ahead of time. Just take this information to a music store and purchase the appropriate Cd's.*Now try to listen to other compositions by the same composer. T You can download a lot of classical music from sources like iTunes; or look in your local music store - often classical music is in the bargain bin.
  • Find out everything you can about the piece or the composer, about the orchestra or the conductor, about the orchestra house they're playing in etc. Get involved! Pay special attention to the 'prehistory' of the composition. You will not be able to hear the piece without knowing what is the story hidden behind it.
  • You know more classical music than you think - advertisements, films and media events often use snatches of classical music that everyone is familiar with. See if you can spot them.
  • Explore new music with free recordings from
  • Compare different orchestrations and listen to the differences to help you decide which one you like best.
  • Try to learn a bit about the composer before you go. Many Classical composers led very wild lives (Mozart, for example.) Learning about their lives, as well as who they were composing music for (many of them were commissioned by royalty or nobility to compose certain pieces,) as well as what was going on in the world when they were living can help you learn to appreciate their music.


  • If a piece (most likely a Sonata, Symphony, Concerto, Suite, Quartet, or Trio) is listed as having multiple movements, (Such as "1. Allegro 2. Andante 3. Presto") there will be short pauses in between parts (movements) of the piece. DO NOT applaud in between movements. Save applause until the END of the piece.
  • Don't talk or make any loud noises.
  • It's always better to start with a well-known professional orchestra for your first concert. After you've found the joy of a great classical performance, community and amateur performances are a great way to enjoy classical music on a budget.

Video: The transformative power of classical music | Benjamin Zander

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Date: 16.12.2018, 00:05 / Views: 51482