What is it kids hate about classical music?

It’s an interesting question why kids today think anything before the Beatles is ‘early music’?

I see it arising from the psycho-cultural revolution in perception that has been underway for a century now, driven by two forces & underpinned by two other – all of which originated in the USA. These were 1) the rise of the 'black beat’, 2) motion pictures, 3) capitalism, 4) technology.

By 'black beat' I mean metronomic music derived from drumming - which manifested first as ragtime then mutated into jazz and finally colonised all US popular music thanks to radio. By WW2 it had created an international musical ‘common time' that defined modernity and marginalised indigenous musical styles all over the economically-developed world. See a historical perspective.

The second force, the exponential growth of moving images from jerky novelty to sophisticated worldwide ubiquity, needs no further articulation. See my take on its effect on perception.

3 & 4 are both forces with positive & negative aspects; but the genius of the American social melting pot married together them to create art(plat)forms which, for the first time in history, would communicate effectively to a mass market of widely diverse ethnicity rather than appealing to elite audiences.

When I was young the skiffle craze as mere undertow to the imminent tsunami of Rock. Since then the relentless gray squirrel of US musical hegemony has all but eliminated the red squirrel of individual national cultural identity wherever there is mains electricity - or at least created a fundamental musical orthodoxy to which even today’s so-called ‘world music’ largely conforms.
This is the planet today’s young pianist has inherited. Inevitably the emerging adolescent is driven by fashion & peer pressure & thus their imagination is most effectively captured by the kind of music they're surrounded by and listen to. To be sure it’s morally-restricted and commercially-driven style, but  its fore-shortend worldview is cleverly tailored to support the reassuring wall of illusion with which immature personalities prefer to surround themselves.
The ‘problem’ with classical music for young people today, beyond ‘classic hits’, is not merely that it’s whole timbre is unfamiliar but much of its harmonic language evokes emotional voids - certain profound experiences which those raised on today's 24-hour-party world have rarely encountered - with the result that they are often made to feel quite uneasy by the range of emotions found within classical music. Moreover its execution often requires a subtlety of mind and technique which, in an automated & leveraged world, is no longer seen as an essential, or even desirable, prerequisite of endeavour.
All these factors make even show-tunes of the pre-war era as foreign and old-fashioned to kids as houses without central heating. I think it’s an interesting challenge to circumvent young people’s natural reluctance to move outside this comfort zone.

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