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Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart? (Read 1048 times)

Offline williampiano

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Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
« on: December 10, 2011, 02:01:25 AM »
This is something I've wanted to ask for a while.
Should most people, even if they aren't musicians at least know of the name, 'Mozart'?
I rarely talk about classical music to other people, but when I do I've noticed that most of them can't even name the composers Mozart and Beethoven. I don't expect everyone to really know anything about classical music if they don't like it, but isn't knowing who Mozart or Beethoven is like knowing who Leonardo Da Vinci is or who Albert Einstein is (as in historical figures)? I know nothing about artwork, but I at least know the name Picasso.

Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
«Reply #1 on: December 11, 2011, 07:04:54 PM »
Yeah they should. But it's not entirely their fault, as the average education nowadays tends increasingly towards ignoring everything that doesn't serve the one and only "holy" goal (aka golden calf) to make as much money as possible.

My first name is Wolfgang and when I was little everybody used to joke around my name, even the most musically uneducated persons referred to me as "Wolfgang Amadeus..." I couldn't stand it. But they knew Mozart! Our neighbour in a little rural village in Switzerland, a farmer, whose first name is Ludwig, used to call me Mozart, and one day my dad called him Beethoven. My dad couldn't stop laughing about his reaction because that neighbour had actually no idea who Beethoven was  ;D

Offline Bob

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Re: Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
«Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 05:06:57 AM »
Ditto.  Except my name's not Wolfgang.

And they should learn that in upper elementary grades in general music.

And in a basic music appreciation class if they take that in college.

Or just through normal life.  It's pretty hard to avoid Mozart.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Online ted

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Re: Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
«Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 09:59:19 AM »

I rarely talk about classical music to other people, but when I do I've noticed that most of them can't even name the composers Mozart and Beethoven.


It is the word "most" which troubles me here. If a majority of a reasonably varied selection of grown people really do not know the names "Mozart" and "Beethoven", then something peculiar is going on. I agree with Wolfi that the schools have deteriorated in many ways over recent decades, but what about parents ? I cannot imagine a household with such a low level of general knowledge and such a high level of parental apathy that conversations about famous people of all kinds would not have taken place many times as part of the children's upbringing. This is actually quite worrying. I guess I might encounter the very occasional adult who wouldn't know, but "most" ?!

Mind you, I was not aware of just how far the schools had sunk here until we visited a friend who teaches secondary school (ages thirteen to eighteen). It seems they have taken Shakespeare out of the syllabus altogether because he is "too difficult" for young people, and our friend reads novels aloud in classes because left to themselves the kids will not read anything at all at home. 
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline williampiano

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Re: Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
«Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 01:40:41 AM »
It is the word "most" which troubles me here. If a majority of a reasonably varied selection of grown people really do not know the names "Mozart" and "Beethoven", then something peculiar is going on. I agree with Wolfi that the schools have deteriorated in many ways over recent decades, but what about parents ? I cannot imagine a household with such a low level of general knowledge and such a high level of parental apathy that conversations about famous people of all kinds would not have taken place many times as part of the children's upbringing. This is actually quite worrying. I guess I might encounter the very occasional adult who wouldn't know, but "most" ?!

Well, I myself am actually not an adult and I was partly referring to older teenagers as myself. But that being said, surprisingly enough I have met many adults who are not familiar with the most famous of composers/historical figures. I also live in Southern California where classical music is very foreign to some people as it may be less so in other parts of the world say the east coast, europe etc.
Though, I suppose in some families it has never even seemed to be a subject worth the slightest bit of attention.

Mind you, I was not aware of just how far the schools had sunk here until we visited a friend who teaches secondary school (ages thirteen to eighteen). It seems they have taken Shakespeare out of the syllabus altogether because he is "too difficult" for young people, and our friend reads novels aloud in classes because left to themselves the kids will not read anything at all at home.  


Yes, at my school the 11th grade regular English class can't even read the Odyssey anymore, so now they have to read an abridged version. That's why I thank god I am in all advanced classes.

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Should non-musicians at least know of Mozart?
«Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 08:04:42 AM »
Every generation must learn about Coca Cola, but that's not what you asked. The name Mozart is of little value apart from the appreciation of the art he brought to the world which contributes to lives of many who do and don't know his name, and may not contribute to others who do and don't know his name. I find my own maturing interesting in that a few years ago I thought anyone who wanted to come near me and know me had to know Mahler's 9th Symphony backwards and forwards, or else they'd not understand me - such is truly foolish. Fast forward to now, I have many very close friends who have never heard me play piano and who I've never had one meaningful conversation with on the subject of music and the arts, and this does not bother me in the least. I do feel a need for that outlet, for any talent is nothing if it's not prepared and given to people appreciative to accept it, and I'd be deceiving myself if I thought it has not been or was not a major part of my life, but it is most important to know exactly why it became so important and what role it aught to play in my life. Should everyone know Mozart? I believe if we were honest, observant and humble enough to accept the answers, we'd see the whole process of life from birth to death, acknowledge Mozart's music has a place for the enjoyment of those who wish to appreciated it in this time under the burning sun, but in the end, the statement ultimately holds true for this too, "Vanity of vanity, all is vanity."
Don't let anyone know where you tie your goat.