Jan 23

Five Ways to Become More Cultured: Adding Classical Music to Your Daily Life

Many individuals and families have a desire to be cultured. You know, take that step up from cheddar cheese to Gruyère, hot dogs to pancetta, Avril Lavigne to Hilary Hahn.

It’s like going from this:

Photo by Nick Saltmarsh

to this:

Photo by Nate Steiner

In a world that is becoming increasingly casual and satisfied with mundane and flavorless activities, a great way to add more refinement to your daily (yes, daily) life is to pump it up with classical music! And I don’t mean by occasionally tuning your radio to the classical station to get away from endless coverage of the Republican primaries.

If you find yourself

• playing Angry Birds and Words with Friends for hours per day
• neglecting your New Year’s Resolutions to better yourself
• spending all your free time glazing over your Facebook newsfeed
• watching TV because you don’t know what else to do

. . . try adding a touch of classical music to your day to refresh your senses and invigorate your mind.

Five Ways to Add Classical Music to Your Daily Life

1) Listen to your local classical station. And not just to escape the commercials, news, or bad songs on other stations. Try stepping away from pounding drum beats and heated talk radio for even ten minutes during breakfast, on your commute, or while you fold laundry. You’ll be surprised how a little Bach can melt some of the stress out of the daily grind.

2) Tap into your local classical music scene. Not only will listening to your local classical station be literal music to your ears, tuning in is a great way to find out about local classical performances in your neighborhood. Take note of upcoming community concerts, professional symphony performances, operas, solo recitals, and local festivals. And after you take note, don’t just let the opportunity pass you by. Actually GO.

3) Read up. There’s no better way to feel more cultured than to throw in a few little known facts about Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring into your dinner conversation. But beyond just impressing your friends, there’s something enlivening about continuing your lifelong cultural education through informative literature. Check out composer biographies, the program notes you always throw away, or the Arts & Life section of your local newspaper. Get in the know!

Photo by Jason Weinberger

4) Use the technology you have. Spotify, Grooveshark, and Pandora are great resources to expose yourself to classical music, whether they’re familiar composers such as Beethoven and Mozart or contemporary performers such as Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham. Look up books, articles, music, and podcasts about classical music on your Kindle or smart phone. Read about classical music, artists, and techniques on Wikipedia. Step away from Facebook for a moment to gain some new knowledge! And when you find it, sure, post a link on your wall for your friends.

5) Play. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or one who’s never seen a sheet of music, go for it! Sign up for lessons, noodle on your friend’s piano, and practice on a regular basis. Playing classical music will flex your brain muscles in a way you don’t use them doing any other activity during the day. Even practicing scales and arpeggios can be strangely relaxing as a physical and mental activity that certainly involves more of your senses than when you’re playing Farmville. It may seem daunting to get up off the couch, turn off the TV, and set aside the cheese puffs, but spending even a few minutes during your day to play music will give you a great sense of accomplishment–even refinement–when you’re done.

1 comment

  1. Devin

    Hi Liz, Just discovered your website and articles and really love them! Am finding some great advice on a range of musical topics to pass on to others!


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