Getting to know Classical Music

In all my school years, 1941-50, there was no music in the curriculum, absolute zero, and I never once heard a student play a musical instrument. In 1942 we had 'penny' concerts in a tiny country school I attended where the money collected went to the 'war effort'. I sometimes sang a pop song, told tongue-twisters or mimicked birds and animals, but it was an entirely 'do-your-own-thing' affair. My favourite music was the BBC's "Hit Tunes of the R" which I later found was actually "Hit Tunes of the Hour."

As a teenager I listened to all the pop songs of the day. They only consisted of a dozen or so 3 minute songs, about an hour in total. I always seemed to have plenty of time left over and so began searching for more and more music on the radio. As I was a musical ignoramus, the names I found in this other music seemed weird or funny with strange numbers, e.g., Sonata for cello and piano in C sharp minor, opus 101 number 2 written by some foreign guy called Beethoven, or maybe it was by Chicklelowski.

Anyway, in desperation to try to keep tabs on all this crazy mixed up mess, I made a list of everything I heard. I got an exercise book and in the left margin wrote the composer's name and on the right wrote the name of the bit of music. I filled a few exercise books! In another book, I made yet another list summarising the individual music items under each composer's name.

Because of those lists I gradually became more interested in music and taught myself to read it. Out of nothing, has grown a 60+ years interest in classical music in all its various forms, and for no good reason that I can fathom. I'll have to blame it on those lists.

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