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Think You Don't Like Classical Music? You Already Like It Better Than You Realize

Updated on April 26, 2018
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.

Give a listen and see if you change your mind:

I recently had a good friend tell me she just didn’t care for classical music.

I was surprised by her comment. She is an accomplished, well-educated woman. It seemed like such a sweeping dismissal of a genre, I have to admit, I may more appreciate than enjoy myself. I can't say I spend my days and nights listening to nothing else, but there are some pieces that are so full of emotion and imagination, I consider them among my favorites on a list of all kinds of music.

I was compelled to ask my friend what she thought “classical music” was? Like most of us, she had a hard time putting her finger on a definition. I decided I would make her a play list of some of my favorite selections. Then I remembered HubPages, the perfect venue for just such a list, not only for my friend, but also for the pleasure of my Hub followers.

My appreciation of this kind of music began in fourth grade. I was living in Tempe, Arizona, where the public school system had the foresight to offer a music appreciation course to augment their regular curriculum. We were given about ten pieces of classical music to listen to and absorb. At the end of a period of six weeks or so, if we could name the piece when it was played, spell it correctly along with the composition it was from and the composer, we were rewarded with a live concert at the nearby high school where we got to hear the music performed by a live orchestra. How wise those educators were! Fourth graders learned to love this kind of music before they were old enough to find out it wasn’t cool.

Recently my five-year-old grandson walked into his mother’s bedroom, looked at a poster on her wall, and asked, “Is that a Monet?” She was flabbergasted. Apparently his Kindergarten teacher held a class on art, and these little kids now knew a Monet when they saw one. Amazing. Good for those five-year-olds. Good for that teacher. Now just add a little Bach.

I have the same intentions in offering this hub as a sampling of some of my favorite “classical” pieces of music. I know, for the purists out there, not all these selections adhere to the strict definition of that genre. But it’s my list. I get to choose this time.


You may remember this version from the old Tom and Jerry Cartoon

Fanfare for the Common Man – Aaron Copland

Or if you prefer:

Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends – Ladies and Gentlemen – Emerson Lake and Palmer

Possibly the best piece of music ever written by an American: Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin

Wake up every morning to this: Sunrise from The Grand Canyon Suite - Ferde Grofé


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Could not agree more! Hope all the videos ran for you. A reader recently told me some had been blocked, so I replaced them. You've got to hear the music!!! Thanks for the read and the comment.

    • Frances Metcalfe profile image

      Frances Metcalfe 2 weeks ago from The Limousin, France

      So many people have no idea just how much classical music they actually know! It abounds everywhere - in adverts, background music for TV programmes and films. And don't you just hate that comment "It all sounds the same!" Excuse me, I think, it's as varied and diverse as Man itself.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This one was so much fun to write. It is a shame kids are not getting the experience of great music at school any more.

    • Reginald Thomas profile image

      Reginald Thomas 5 weeks ago from Connecticut

      Great article! Without music education in the public schools will always restrict what we learn and how we learn about a very important art form. I love your examples as they are some of my favorites.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks for the contributions to this hub. It was fun to research and write. Classical music is my go-to when I need energy or want to block out nagging thoughts.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Nice subject for a hub Kathleen. Like Theresa, Vivaldi and Tschaikovski are two of my favourites. I have DVDs of "The Four Seasons" and a series of classical CDs by various composers. What many people Marcy said many people don't realise that many of the movie and TV show themes that they like are classical music. Examples are themes from The Lone Ranger, William Tell, Pink Panther, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and the list goes on.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks, Marcy! The Lone Ranger is a great example - I'm going to remember that!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

      I agree with the whole premise of this hub - anyone who was ever energized by the theme song of The Lone Ranger has enjoyed classical music more than they realize - I used to love pointing that out to people. Lovers' Concerto is a longtime favorite example for me.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dzy: So glad you shared your walk down memory lane with me. I had the same experience at home growing up. There is so much music in our lives that we enjoy without sorting out the genre. I guess it's enough that we enjoy it!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I've always loved classical music; I was more or less raised on it, not that it was offered in school--it wasn't.

      However, I grew up with my parents' era tunes, and classical. It's amazing how many people don't know that classical music is used at the theme in many popular movies. 2001 Space Odyssey comes to mind. It's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," written in 1896 by Richard Strauss!

      The "Fanfare for the Common Man," I did not actually know by name, but it was oh, so familiar. I think I have it: it is played during the Olympics...either as part of the opening or closing ceremonies...or maybe even as the general intro theme for each session's televised appearance.

      Voted up +++

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Vocalcoach: Glad to hear from someone who really knows this music. I'd love for you to attach a link to one of your performances!

      fpherj48: Thank you for the kind words from another music lover - of all kinds.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Hi Kathleen

      As a teacher and performer of classical music I appreciate this marvelous hub. The videos are wonderful too. I've rated up, useful, awesome and will be sharing. Thanks so much! Audrey

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Kathleen...wonderful piece of work i enjoyed. of course like most, I love music in my life.....different music for various reasons and occasions. Classical is amongst the sounds that I love. It is soothing and is your writing, Kathleen. Very lovely...UP+++

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      RTalloni: Thanks for contributing more music to this hub! I hope all the readers will listen and enjoy!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Classical music has been known to stop people in their tracks, help us think clearly when issues are cloudy, inspire when we are flat, and encourage when we are afraid! It's power can reach into our minds and depress or uplift, delight or dismay us. It is the work of studied societies that have tried to reach beyond their circumstances throughout different periods of history. You are right, anyone can appreciate it if they give it some thought, though they may enjoy another genre better!

      Since it is now fall when we think so seasonally, here's a year of seasons to enjoy:


      And here is almost 4 hours of Cello Concertos:


      (Not sure if it's just on my end, but your first 2 vids aren't coming through.)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Love the piano. I'll look it up. Thanks!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Some classical music is ridiculously good Kathleen, breathtaking often..I'm a keyboard lover and just downloaded Ludovico Einaudi's Nuvole bianche Una mattina..if you like the piano this is very beautiful.. oh and def the EL & P version:) interesting hub, will share..Cheers

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Hi Kathleen - well it feels more like late April than early December - this is definitely winter season now although this week has been relatively mild clear with some rain but no snow - and there has been no wind the past two days and the wind chill is everything when you live this close to the lake - lake erie time 2:21pm off for my walk now around the bay of the lake - have a good weekend

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks epigramman! I'm with you for setting the ambiance for writing. Although I, personally, set no limits on Zep!

      What's the temp at Lake Erie today? I'm in shirtsleeves here in Atlanta. Merry! Merry!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      I just simply love classical music, Kathleen, and I couldn't live without it - I always wake up with it in the mornings - even now after my wake up coffee and bagels I am still listening to classical music to start my day - and currently it's the Beatles go Baroque - it's great for writing - and the policy in my household is never listen to Led Zeppelin before 12 noon - lol - it's got to be classical musical or I ain't getting out of bed - thank you for this beauty of a hub presentation - I can tell it's a labor of love and you have done wonderful research here - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 9:20am

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      "Your hub actually inspired me to write that hub" the highest praise a writer can receive. I'm going to read yours right now! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      Kathleen, I put a link to this hub on my hub "Who Wrote the Adagio in G Minor - A Musical Mystery". Your hub actually inspired me to write that hub, because I started to think about all the great music that's in movies, and nobody realizes where they actually come from. I already commented on this great hub - thanks for inspiring me to write one of my own!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jaye- I think the only music my dog loves is dog food commercial jingles!

      I think many people just haven't been introduced to music they don't readily hear on the radio. I hope this hub brings in some new lovers of this genre.

      Thanks for the read and the comments.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      tillsontitan: So glad one of most faithful followers enjoyed this hub so much. I started out writing on HP for myself. I find myself more and more writing for my followers. I hope I do as much for your writing as you do for mine.

      mperrottet: Thanks for the encouragement and I'm so glad you liked this one. It was one of the most fun to compose I've written so far.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I have always loved classical music - especially Beethoven - my favorite piece being Beethoven's 7th. I'll bet you're correct - many people may like it without realizing what they are listening to. Voted up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Splendid! I have an entire set of classical CD's...and I like one more than the other. Bach's Foccata and Fuge in D can see the phantom of the opera in your mind's eye with this one....there are too many Beethoven pieces to even mention...the list goes on and on! Oh Kathleen this was a great piece and perhaps an introduction for some. I love the Tom and Jerry video, really nice touch.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Shared with my followers so they can hear the wonderful selections you've made.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Wonderful hub, Kathleen....You're so right that most people love many familiar pieces of classical music, even if they don't recognize them as "classical."

      I not only love classical music--my dog does, too!

      Voted Up++++


    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Rhapsody in Blue - YES! The Grand Canyon Suite is full to overflowing with wonderful pieces beyond what I showcased in this hub. Enjoy!

      No, I can't find the "give us bread" piece at all and it is way old. So much of what I used here is really considered contemporary American.

      Welcome to my hubs Music and Art 45. I don't write on music much, but I'd like to do more. I'll take a look at your hubs based on your handle.

    • Music-and-Art-45 profile image

      Music-and-Art-45 5 years ago from USA, Illinois

      I had never heard of the grand canyon suite, an excellent discovery. I've got to say on this list Rhapsody in Blue is still my favorite.

      Do you have a link to or an audio clip of the "give us bread" theme?

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      GoForTheJuggler: What a handle! Thanks for the share. Amd welcome to my hubs.

      Been wanting to ask someone: Do you know the classical piece on the theme "Give Us Bread"? I think it is by one of the B's but I can't find it.

    • GoForTheJuggler profile image

      Joshua Patrick 5 years ago from Texas

      Classical music was my first love. Vivaldi and Chopin are my favorite composers. Here's my favorite Vivaldi composition -

      Voted up and across!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      My kids have always understood the difference between cartoons and "real cartoons" - the old ones that often incorporated classical music. "Little Einsteins" comes as close as it gets these days, but I don't think they are nearly as much fun. Thanks for taking the time to comment and welcome to my hubs.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Kathleen

      A wonderful hub. I enjoy classical music.

      I really enjoyed the selections you chose. I love Rhapsody in Blue.

      My first exposure to classical music was the Bugs Bunny show and listening to the Barber of Seville.

      Voted up and away!

      Take care :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks Glenn! What a great legacy to leave a nephew!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Every once in a while I got into the mood for listening to classical music. but I never got to know the names of the artists or the orchestras. I just listened and enjoyed what I was listening to.

      When my 98 year old aunt passed away two years ago she left me old LP vinyl records. All classical. I got a hold of an old working record player and listened to some of them for the fun of it. But I really enjoyed it without really knowing what I was listening to.

      Thanks to your hub, I learned quite a bit now. I recognized everything I was listening to in the videos that you put in this hub. Now I have a name to put to the music. That adds even more to the enjoyment of it all. Thanks so much. Voted up and awesome.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well, John, we aim to please. Glad it struck a chord with you! Thanks for the up!

      What are your favorite pieces?

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Kathleen, love this hub!!! You know how much I'm into classical music and you made some excellent points in your article.

      ---you've captured me with this hub---voted up!


    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'm sure in the fourth grade if they'd made us listen and learn entire operas, it would have spoiled it for me forever. This is your creamed peas my Dad made me eat when I was 10. Can't stand the sight of peas to this day.

      And when in doubt, it's whatshisnames fault. Works for any situation!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Now that I think about it, it is what's-his-names fault! :) And reading the other comments has reminded me I do like both Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi. I need to remember that I no longer live in the 80's when you bought an entire album or tape. I can pick and choose and download only the specific pieces that I really like. One of the great wonders of modern technology. :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Wow. Wish I'd been there. You've added two pieces to my Greatest Hits. I realize my list includes a lot of relatively contemporary composers, but as you've noted, there's more to classical music than the three B's.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      I think the best wake-up-and-get-moving music is Shostakovich's Festival Ouverture.

      I guess I always liked classical music, but I've felt much more passionate about it since the evening I was walking back to my dorm room and someone decided to blast the quad with a really good speaker system playing "Ride of the Valkyries". Nobody could call classical music boring after experiencing that.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you. How can you not love "Rapsody in Blue" ??? Throw out the rest but keep that one!

      And if I'd known whatshisname was at the bottom of this, I never would have written this hub.

      Thanks for your patience in listening to all this. You actually have great taste in music and to each his own.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      OK, as the “well-educated friend" who didn't care for classical music, I have been musing and have four things to share. :)

      1) Maybe I don't know what classical music father made all us children listen to the Boston Pops Orchestra when we were young and that rankled, so maybe I dismissed classical back then, or what I thought was classical.

      2) I really like the pieces you selected a great deal, all of them! (well, I am sorry because it is your favorite, but I didn't much care for Rhapsody in Blue....sorry) So, maybe I do like classical and just don’t know that I do.

      3) A great deal of the music I do like has a piano, string section, or full orchestra behind the vocalist, band, or group and so has a fairly full and lush orchestral sound. I am thinking of Enigma, Coldplay, Josh Groban, Adele, Oysterband, Loreena McKennit, ThePianoGuys. Dessa, Sigur Ro’s, Hans Zimmer – music for Gladiator, Hem, and of course Mannheim Steamroller and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Very sweeping and orchestral arrangements, but the percussion and beat we associate more with rock, if that makes sense.

      4) Since I clearly do like some classical pieces and I am drawn to music with an orchestral or symphonic background, maybe what I don’t care for is an entire album (dating myself here) or CD of classical music. Years ago my husband had quite a collection of classical music; he would play an entire album through and I would (I know this is blasphemy) would get antsy or bored.

      Quite obviously, what I needed then was someone like you to direct me toward some of the more inspiring and dramatic pieces and perhaps my tastes would have developed differently. At any rate, I am committed to being more open-minded and inclusive when it comes to music, especially classical pieces. You have a willing and happy convert. :)

      This is actually a great hub. Sharing. :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Trish: I have much the same problem. For this hub I went looking for a composition that has a recurring theme that sounds like "Give Us Bread". It is very dramtic. But no luck on Google or UTube.

      Teaches: What is it about 4th grade and music appreciation? Thank goodness for those teachers.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Kudos to your grandson's teacher for introducing art at a young age. I was also fortunate enough to have a wonderful music teacher in fourth grade that aroused my interest in classical music. Thanks for the learning experience.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      I like quite a lot of classical music. My problem is that I cannot always name the piece or the composer :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      For those of you who have already read this hub, I tweeked it a good bit today. You might want to take a second look at the videos. Thanks!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks Rebecca. I hate to put it in this context, but it is great music to clean house to. I think it just gets you into the task at hand. No wonder it is good for children.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Beautiful! I think we all get caught up in contemporary music and forget about other genres.Plus it is usually harder to find on the radio and we are always so "on the go". Thanks for the reminder,I must listen to classical more!


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