Since 1994, when President Bill Clinton signed Proclamation 6716, September has been National Classical Music Month. In the proclamation, President Clinton outlined the ways in which classical music reflects the American consciousness:
Classical music is a celebration of artistic excellence. Great art endures through the ages, and in the United States we have embraced that great music and incorporated it into the American experience. Our best art reflects our Nation’s spirit—that mixture of discipline and improvisation, the combination of strong individual voices working together at the same time, the bravado, the inventiveness, the dynamism of the American character. Classical music plays in harmony with that energy and spirit to become reinvigorated and reinvented with each new orchestra or chamber group, with every performance that rings out new and fresh.
Many supporters of classical music have noted the ways in which composers and performers create work which evokes intense emotion and deeply move the listener. Classical music has the capacity to compel the human spirit even more than popular music and has the depth and breadth to evoke ideas as broad as elation, heroism, anger, and anguish. Proclamation 6716 contends that classical music has “continuity and tradition”, and can be a “unifying force” worldwide.
How can you incorporate more classical music into your daily life during the month of September? Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Segment your symphonies
Classical pieces are longer than popular music, exponentially so if you are looking entire works like cycles or operas. This can sometimes be intimidating or off-putting to people trying to get into classical music.
Instead of setting aside a whole day to listen to Wagner’s Ring cycle, break longer pieces up into manageable portions. Try listening to classical music for 10-15 minutes every day in the month of September. Not only will this practice set aside time to relax and appreciate the arts every day, but you might learn that you love classical music!
2. Attend a performance
Attending a performance of classical music doesn’t have to break the bank! Many cities offer free music in parks or broadcast in public spaces. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, take advantage of San Francisco’s many classical music events. Sunday, September 9th, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra opens their Fall season with a selection of opera performances in Golden Gate Park. AT&T Park often broadcasts opera and symphony performances, showing them in the ballpark, and the SF Opera often broadcasts performances on television and radio. Many other cities, symphonies, orchestras, and operas do similar events for their communities. Check out your local institutions or public broadcast stations to see what is offered this month!
3. Movements in the movies
This suggestion comes to us courtesy of an article encouraging listening to piano and classical music with children. This can be a fun activity regardless of age and is a great entree to the world of classical music for those of us who may be more hesitant to jump in.
Listen for songs in well-known movies and try to identify them. Did you know that many and I would dare say most modern songs are based on classical music themes[?] They have a lot of the same or very similar melodies that you can learn to identify once you know some classicalyearroundhomeschooling.com
Here is a great list of movies to reference, or even to use as an answer sheet to quiz your friends and family! Get other involved and create some memories around classical music.