How To Listen To Great Music - Robert Greenberg

Author: Robert Greenberg

Book: How To Listen To Great Music: A Guide To Its History, Culture, and Heart

Age Range: 12 and up

Description: This book puts in writing what composer, professor, and historian Robert Greenberg has taught in his popular Teaching Company CD/DVD course.  It's an entertaining survey of what we in the Western world commonly refer to as classical music and which Greenberg prefers to call concert music, focusing on the concert music composed between 1600 and 1900.  He's a biased observer and lets that come through in his writing, which is usually good in that it helps focus the attention on particular artists rather than letting the reader get lost in the weeds of dozens of artists whose music is unknown outside their most devoted aficionados.  (It's sometimes a bit excessive, as when he presents the superiority of concert music over every other style of music as essentially fact, and not just a reasonably argued opinion.)  Some music reading ability is helpful, though I think you can get a fair amount out of it without that knowledge.

Why am I mentioning it here on a kids music site?  I didn't get much theoretical and historical knowledge of classical music of when I was Miss Mary Mack's age and learning the organ and violin, and in retrospect, I wish I had.  So if your kids are starting to take lessons of their own, and exploring the concert repertoire, I think this would be a good book for you and, if they're mature older tweens, for them to read to give a framework to understand the different eras of classical music.  

[Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for possible review.]