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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Can Classical Music Be Cool? by Karim Hakimzadeh

Follow on Twitter as @khakimz
"Like many other kids, I was pushed to learn an instrument when I was growing up. Once a week I would be carted off to piano lessons at my teacher's studio, where I would sit reeling off scales, or studying a piece of music to which I had no particular personal connection." according to Karim Hakimzadeh, founder of Litmore.


It was by no means the most cumbersome of my scholastic pursuits, but I struggled to take real pleasure in an activity not of my choosing. My first real exposure to classical music was one that is all too common: it was forced.

I grew up in a musical household. The soundtrack of much of my early life was the precise melodic lines of Bach, who my father is especially fond of. According to my mother, I was born to "Spring" from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. My brother is an avid composer and talented percussionist, as well as a virtuoso beat-boxer. Yet despite all this, once I entered my teen years and the parental pressure relented, I was quick to discard the piano at the first chance. The association of the piano with hours of unwanted exertion was one not easily broken; for years I barely ever touched the piano -- and what's more, I didn't really miss it.

It wasn't until college that I discovered a love of classical music on my own steam. I was up one night and happened to come across a recording of Debussy's Clair de Lune, when I was seized by a sudden urge to play it for myself. All at once, memories of my piano-playing days came flooding back, and I was excited by the prospect of playing something that genuinely appealed to me, rather than to satisfy my teacher or pass an exam. I spontaneously took the subway into Boston, bought the first keyboard I could find, and hauled it back to my room. That was the last night anybody in my dorm enjoyed a good night's sleep.

From that point onwards, I immersed myself in classical music as much as I could, listening to it in my free time, attending concerts and even taking a number of electives on music history and composition. For the first time, I took the time to sit down and really listen to the music as opposed to merely have it playing in the background.

Source: Huffington Post