Fun Ways to Get into Classical Music


Shaina Linker, Contributing Writer

“Shall it be Brahms or Dvorak?” I thought to myself as I opened my homework and put on Dvorak’s New World Symphony. 

A few years ago, I would not have thought of listening to any sort of classical music. I had no idea of the vast symphonies, solos, sonatas, concertos, quartets, trios and other pieces that were composed by so many classical composers. Then, one day, I was scrolling on YouTube and  a song by The Piano Guys came up. The Piano Guys are a music channel that combines popular music (movie themes, pop music, modern songs) with popular classical pieces. The song that I happened to be listening to was their video “Bach is back with 7 more Cellos.” which involves a sort of organized chaos where eight versions of the same cellist played different variations on the theme of the Bach cello suite. Anyway, I was completely enchanted. Soon, I found myself watching more of their videos and exploring other classical music related YouTube channels. Listening to their videos made me curious about how the original pieces sounded, so I looked them up and listened to them. 

This was just the beginning of my appreciation for classical music. Rather than jumping into over-listened and maybe “boring” pieces like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Pachelbel’s Canon, I just listened to the particular songs that complimented my personal taste in music. The fun thing about classical music is that there are so many categories and different types of classical music, and that anyone can find a certain composer or period that is super fun to listen to. 

Do you like history? Maybe dive into the music periods and the history behind them! Since classical music is so large, it covers a huge part of history. You’ll find that a lot of pieces were inspired by the composer’s surroundings, personal struggles, and life experiences. Are you into art? Maybe think about the paintings that were made during these periods- you’ll find that a lot of the different styles of classical music were heavily inspired by painters. Are you a math person? Maybe dive into the way the beats, lengths, and rhythms that changed over time- you’ll find that classical music is extremely reliant on counting. If you like English and foreign languages, maybe research the different composers and their nationalities and you’ll find a variety of composers who all composed the great and magnificent music genre we know today as “classical”. 

Since classical music is so expansive and there is so much of it, maybe stick to a certain period or range of composers you like. To break it down into a nutshell there are roughly five periods of classical music: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th/21st century. If you are into movies, themes, and epic orchestral effects, maybe dive into Dvorak or other impressionist composers. If you are into ballet and dance or perhaps need something light and aristocratic, listen to Mozart and Bach. Even if you have had a bad day and want to listen to something intense, maybe listen to Beethoven or Brahms. Once you’ve jumped into the world of classical music it will be hard to get out! 

If you play an instrument, then maybe look up solos with your instrument or pieces particularly composed for your instrument. It is interesting to note that all of the pieces composed during these periods were meant to be entertainment and social experiences in a time where there were no microphones, TV, or internet. Most of these pieces therefore allow the instruments to shine naturally with no adjustments or auto-tunes. Even if you play a “rock”or electric instrument you can still listen to and enjoy classical music. Once an electric bassist did a music battle with two violinists and played a well-known violin piece over youtube. If you don’t play an instrument at all, classical music is always a great way to relax, pass time, or listen for fun. 

The best way to get into classical music is just to explore. Look up different composers on Google and see what comes up, you’re bound to find something. Or you can just do what I did: watch classical music channels like the Piano Guys, 2cellos, Twosetviolin, or others. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself listening to concertos, symphonies, and sonatas when trying to pass some time, relax, or get through a homework marathon. That’s certainly the unexpected thing that happened to me!