Hi there. Welcome, and thanks for visiting Music Tasting! Please come in, take off your jacket, kick off your shoes, make yourself comfy and let me show you round. This place is pretty new and it’s not that big yet, but I can tell you what it’s all about.
In a nutshell:
Music Tasting is a place for people to engage with music via the medium of storytelling.
That’s the ‘elevator pitch’ version. If you want to know how it began, and who I am, then I invite you to read the first post. It gives you some of the background on what I hope this site might become, and why I’m inspired by the idea of using stories to help people discover and connect with music.
I suspect the first question a few people might have when they first drop in is “Is this just a blog about classical music?” The short answer is no. The longer answer is that it will probably end up being more about classical music than about any other single genre of music, but my tastes and interests are eclectic, and I’m sure yours are too. So no, I’m hoping to share stories about all sorts of music, and I would welcome your stories in all their glorious and wonderful variety as well. But let me tell you first why I think stories are so important in helping people to understand and love what we have come to know as ‘classical music’. (I won’t, for the moment, get into any debates about definitions and categories – we probably both know what the term generally means in layperson’s terms, but feel free to ask me if you want clarification.)
Human beings are really good at narrative. Not only are we really good at it, we basically depend on it for understanding what’s going on in the world, whether it be in our relationships, in politics, in our careers or any number of our other endeavours. We tell stories about who we are and how things ended up they way they did. It’s how we make sense of stuff. A lot of the stories are fiction (novels, movies and so on), but even when they’re invented they’re still a filter for our own understanding of the world and we use them to make all the pieces of our lives fit together. But I think somewhere along the way there are a few areas that have gotten a bit lost. Maybe we stopped telling stories that helped those areas stay relevant to our lives. And maybe one of those areas is the world of classical music. I’m not quite sure and I don’t really have an answer to that one yet. In fact, when I’ve thought about it some more I’ll probably turn these half-baked thoughts into a post in itself rather than stick them over here on the About page which not that many people are likely to read. (If you’re still following me around on this mini introductory tour then can I just say that YOU are AWESOME and deserve a big gold star.)
I think it’s fairly safe to say that it’s only a small percentage of the population who really feel like they know and love and understand and engage with and have their lives inarguably changed by classical music. And that’s not a criticism, by the way, just an observation. But maybe this is because we need to start telling more stories. Or different stories. I think that many people believe that classical music is for Other People: the wealthy, the elderly, the musically gifted, the highly educated… or perhaps just the domain of the chronically ‘uncool’. It’s been stigmatised as boring, branded as irrelevant for the 21st century, and – yes, we should probably admit it – often taught by those who failed to unlock its magic. Whatever the reason, the vast majority of the population don’t count themselves among those who know, understand, and love classical music. And yet there are many people who are living proof that all it takes to change this is for someone to open a door and lead the way. Those people have found the stories that transform an abstract concept into something real that has made a difference in their lives. But the stories are available to everyone, and there are new stories created every day. Every time you sit down and listen to a piece of music, in fact.
So that’s basically what I want to do here: share the stories that will help you, me and the rest of the world connect with music in a new and exciting way. Music Tasting seeks to offer curious listeners a way to sample a variety of different music, and I wholeheartedly encourage questions, sharing, discussion and learning. You can read, ponder and leave a comment – or you can just sit back, listen, and say ‘Yum’.
I hope you’ll feel welcome here. Oh, and please say hi if you feel so inclined. I really like email.