Years ago, a friend told us a true story about a young woman (I’ll call her Ann) who student-taught music in a tiny, rural school in northeast Missouri. Ann wanted to expose the children to classical music, so one day she passed out a list of the great composers to a high school class and asked students to check the ones whose names they recognized.
That night, Ann puzzled over the responses: Beethoven, 1. Bach, 2. Tchaikovsky, 0. Mozart, 4. One composer’s name stood out as most popular, Wagner, with almost everyone in class recognizing his name. The next day, she explained how puzzled she was that these teens were so familiar with Wagner [VAHG-ner] when they didn’t connect with more famous men’s names.
At first there was silence. Then a student raised his hand. “Miss Ann,” he said, “we weren’t thinking of Wagner. We thought you mean Porter Wagoner, the country singer!”
True story. True tragedy. Every American should have exposure to classical music, that great body of work created between the 1600s and late 20th century. To this end, our studio focuses on playing and perfecting some of these pieces each spring, preparing for our classical recital in March.
It’s a repertoire well worth exploring, essential to a complete music education.