Has education expanded your listening tastes?

This point recently came up in another thread: a member was of the opinion (if I am paraphrasing them correctly) that critical thinking plays little role in what our tastes in music might be. We like what we like and that's it. So that begs the question for me, how many of us feel that our reaction to music is primarily rooted in the emotional centers of the brain and that rational analysis of musical structure and language doesn't potentially expand our range of musical enjoyment? I ask because I am not a professional musician, but I did take a few college level music history classes, learn to play guitar in my forties (now sixty,) learn to read music on a rudimentary level of competence, study a little music theory, and enjoy reading historical biographies about composers and musicians. I can honestly say that the in the last fifteen years or so, I have greatly expanded what types of music I enjoy and that I can appreciate music I might not "love" in the emotional sense that used to dictate what I listen to. Take Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern for example. Their music doesn't sweep you away with the emotional majesty of earlier composers, but I find their intellectual rigor and organization to be fascinating and very enjoyable. Same with studying the history of American roots music, I learned a lot about our cultural history and enjoy listening to old blues and country music now. How do other's feel about this emotion vs. learning to appreciate thing?
I think clearly exposure leads to appreciation; familiarity leads to contentment. Working at understanding music as you have I'm sure leads to more appreciation of the execution of music. But if you have been raised on classical music, you will always like it. It might eventually not be your favorite genre, but you will always like it.

I grew up singing standard hymns in church. I don't listen to them on my audio system. But when I get to church on occasion, I love singing those old hymns.
****Take Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern****
I wish someone would.

******but I find their intellectual rigor and organization to be fascinating and very enjoyable.*******

what does 'intellectual rigor and organization' mean?

Rok2kid, That would be my ineloquent way of referring to the fact that as those composers evolved through late Romantic chromaticism and serial techniques, their compositional strategies were more or less guided by adherence to certain principles of composition. Things like Schoenberg and Webern's use of only a single tone row in a given composition.

Arnettpartners, I think you are right about early imprinting. My mom was a violinist, pianist, and organist. My first musical memories as kid are of her playing Maunuel De Falla's music downstairs as I went to sleep. She hated anything anything before Beethoven and after Mahler, but she did give me an early start on appreciation for the classics.
Photon and Arnettpartners, imprinting no doubt occurs. However, there is more in play. My parents listened to country music almost exclusively. My first exposure to classical music was in the 5th grade. The music teacher decided she didn't want to do anything that day so she played a Tchaikovsky symphony. I loved it. I turned increasingly to my Dad's long wave radio, which allowed me to listen to European stations that played classical music. Once the teens rolled around, peer pressure was sufficient to steer me towards the popular music of the day. Again things took a turn when I had a next door neighbor in college who listened to a lot of classical. That was the final turning point. Its been 42 years of nothing but classical. This is what my kids grew up hearing, but they have all turned to country.

I am reminded that Martin Luther, whose knowledge and love of music is well known, commented that he placed music next to theology in its importance. He observed that God uses music, not geometry or similar disciplines to communicate his message. I am further reminded of a study (pet Imaging I think) I once saw that showed the same areas of the brain are activated by music and theology.

Music is a part of the human experience, and historically has been a significant part. It is just in our souls, or else it isn't.
An analogy can be made to food and eating. Some people are adventuresome, try new foods and may then develop a fondness for a particular cuisine or other. Others grow up with meat 'n potatoes and are averse to try anything else. I'm guessing most hear will answer yes!
Photon46 - I absolutely agree with your premise that intellectual
curiosity can lead to an appreciation and even affection for music that
you've been either unfamiliar with or thought you would never like.

And for me there is an element to that process that I'm not clear
whether is emotional or intellectual, maybe both. Reminding myself to
consciously put aside preconceptions about what I might like has taken
me down musical paths I would never have discovered otherwise and
that have been worlds, or at least continents, away from the music I
grew up with.

Serendipity plays a big part, as well, and I'm grateful for that. I had a
long-time companion who was a walking encyclopedia of the music of
southern Europe, where she grew up, as well as all the music that
preceded it, across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and all the
way to India.

To have gone from the country music, fundamentalist hymns and early
rock and roll I grew up with to Paco De Lucia, Ali Farka Toure and Ali
Akbar Khan has been one of the great experiences of my life.
I'm a garage rocker who initially went back to music school (7 years more) to learn more about what's inside the music of Bartok and Zappa. I learned to appreciate so much that I did not "get" before (or had never heard or heard of). And I'm still learning, still finding composers I did not appreciate before.

Rok2id, I presume you've tried Berg's op. 1 piano sonata, his Lyric Suite and his violin concerto and found them lacking?
Who could argue with any of the above-all marvelous and cogent thoughts? Yes, music is said to be the most emotive of the arts--amen, Martin Luther.

I think of a music genre like a skeletal structure of a house inside which are infinite possiblities, and I hear rock in some classical music; I hear classical and jazz in rock; and the lines blur.

But I can't discuss classical music like all of you because I don't have the interest. I lean into rock and jazz. I agree--there is more to it.
I never heard a lick of Classical Music growing up or even knew what it was,or went to school past 8th grade and that in a hick town to be kind about it.
I was in the Naval Hospital in Oakland after being wounded in Korea, which was condensed hell. One day some USO ladies came around with tickets and transportation to the San Francisco Symphony for the "walking wounded" .

I really did not even know what that was but anything was better than being in there. The program was Ravels Bolero
and a Tchaikovsky symphony.
The contrast between evil I had seen,and done, and the light was so great it literally flipped my soul 180 and lead to a totally different life than I otherwise would have led.
Humans are integrated beings, you can come to things emotionally as I did or/and intellectually .What Martin Luther said about Music are some of the wisest words ever uttered.
I was going to add that the above posts approach music with an intellectual curiosity that I don't have for music. My intellectual curiosity is directed toward the science of audio. I will abandon Vivaldi for a good 2/4 time and Bach for a Hammond B3. And this is true.

But Schubert, you take the cake. There is nothing more to say.
Music is an intellectual and emotional pursuit always in all
cases, to some
extent, some more than others obviously, probably ever
cavemen started beating on whatever they could, I would say.

Hard to separate the two....

So I would have to answer yes.

Music is a common "yin" we all use to various
extents to help deal with our own individual
Yes, I think so. I am an amateur musician with no formal training in theory or history. I played my horn in a few ensembles back in college but that was the extent of my formal music education. The difference for me was one college professor who, over the space of four years, consistently introduced us to different styles of music. Some of it I liked, others of it I didn't. Fast forward a few years...I was fortunate enough to be invited to play in a local community swing band. The director, also an educator, arranged most of our music and was responsible for the play list. Similar to my professor in college, he routinely arranged (some times composed) new pieces for us and gave us a variety of styles.

Schubert, what a concert! Ravel's Bolero and a Tchaikovsky symphony in the same concert performed by the San Fransisco Symphany? Wow!

One final comment. I wonder if there is an additional component to this; live performances. In our digital age, I think we have largely forgotten the significance of the experience of a live performance by great performers performing great pieces. To me there is a difference between listening to a replay of music and experiencing the making of music.
Map, very well put !

Pagwan2b, you hit the nail a mighty blow right on the head.
Qualities emerge in human gatherings that are not present in any one individual, both good and bad.
When we are in the presence of a great soul, like a Rostropovich leading us towards the light, it is literally divine.
An interesting read:
"This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel Levitin - the science of a human obsession. The discussion addresses both our emotional and intellectual need for music. Pretty fascinating and recommend.
*****Rok2id, I presume you've tried Berg's op. 1 piano sonata, his Lyric Suite and his violin concerto and found them lacking?******

I do not own anything by Berg, except LULU. I did not like LULU, but I may grow into it later. So I am not in any way being critical of Berg.

I did find a youtube of his piano sonata op. 1, played by Hamelin. I did not find it lacking. But on the same page I found him playing Liszt and Mendelssohn, which I liked better.

You guys all seem to be well versed in classical music, so can anyone explain the DIFFERENCE between the old stuff and 20th Century Classical music. Why does it sound different. What changed?

The Berg piece: I could not detect or distinguish the beginning the middle or the end. If he had played the music in reverse order, I am not sure I would have noticed. Of course this could all be a result of my musical limitations.. Maybe I just don't have the ear for the intellectual aspect of the music.

Education can definitely expand your musical tastes but it can also be done on ones own if motivated.

I took violin lessons when I was very young and had a required classical music class in college so although I can't say I gained an appreciation I was at least open to it. When I finally heard Mozart's Piano Concerto 21 I realized I needed to explore the whole genre further.

Not sure where my interest in jazz stems from as I have absolutely no background. I guess for me it was a giant step. 8^)

But deep down I'm a rock'n'roller. Formal education had nothing to do with it, it was simply the soundtrack of my life.
"You guys all seem to be well versed in classical music, so can anyone explain the DIFFERENCE between the old stuff and 20th Century Classical music. Why does it sound different. What changed?"

I'll take a stab.

CLassical music prior to 20th century was more melodic and towards the end of that era richly romantic as well.

Classical music of the 20th century is a direct reflection of the great social upheavals and turmoil of the times in Europe, represented at its climax by the two world wars. In many ways,classical music of the 20th century preceeeded other popular forms like rock music in terms of providing an outlet for a lot of the angst and chaos experienced by many. Themes like atonal music arose early on. Then as other popular forms came onto the scene, other themes like minimalism got a certain amount of attention as a response to all the new and more daring forms that abounded.

No trend lasts forever. Music is always in the process of re-inventing itself in ways that continue to enable it to play as the "soundtrack" of peoples lives.

World music, and all the diversity that comes along with that, seems to be where things are heading at this point.

Will there be new kind of "global symphony" to go along with the new "global economy"?
Looking at the changes in visual art over that time period will give some indication of the changes in music as well.

Your response sounds right to me. I remember that a lot of Artist, Musicians, Poets and Writers, actually fought in the First world war. And some died. That war had a tremendous impact on Europe that is not appreciated today. And all the causes of the second world war began in the first world war.

And of course the most Influential Music Critic of all time, Stalin, shaped music in Russia / Soviet Union. A bad review there could be fatal!! One man changed the course of music???

Thanks for the input.

Mapman, Your question "What changed" is a great question, but change didn't occur abruptly at the end of the 19th century as an unprecedented phenomenon. Change, even change in music, is relentless.
The audience changed, beginning in the late 18th century, shifting from the clergy and the nobility to increasingly include the merchant class. The venue changed from the elector's palace to the city's music hall. The practice of one performance per piece changed to one where the major composers had their works published, printed, and widely distributed. The works enjoyed multiple performances across Europe. LvB's 3rd symphony was worlds apart from Haydn's 10th not just in in structure, scope, and content, but also in terms of its receiving audience. Haydn's early symphonies could afford to be more formulaic than LvB's. Beethoven also had music critics to deal with. LvB had to do something new with each subsequent symphony. With the turn of the 20th century, this pressure became that much more pronounced as recorded and broadcasted music came on the scene.
Music had to change, and the change had to accelerate and become more radical. Stravinsky was going to go nowhere if he produced a 4 movement symphony in the style of Brahms.
It could be argued that the rate of change has accelerated. The baroque period is generally recognized as lasting 150 years. Bach continued producing Baroque works 25 years after everyone else had stopped. There were a few guys who continued to write romantic pieces into the 20th century. Not many people would recognize their names, apart from Richard Strauss and Rachmaninov, perhaps.

Another question is why was the change not as monolithic as it was at other periods? The passing of the romantic genre was not followed by emergence of a single predominant new genre. I suspect that this is because Mahler, Brahms, Dvorak etc were hard acts to follow. Their music was the end of a road. The road did not extend.

Now is the time to call in Frogman for an expert opinion.
I've read where the public response at the time to bombastic new compositons from Shoenberg, Stravinsky and such early in the 20th century were the first public signs of teh phenomenon that eventually lead to rock and roll, which followed in the same revolutionary footsteps and registered with the masses at first in similar ways.
..not to mention the similar very early influence of Mahler as a revolutionary modern day classical composer.

Also wanted to add that in addition to education and emotion, spirituality has always played a huge role in the most popular and enduring forms of music, classical music aside even.

In other words, the greatest works perhaps are those that register highly on a spiritual level with the audience.

Spirituality is also perhaps the hardest thing to quantify or measure in that some groups may have similar reactions to certain forms, but there is great variation person to person at this level based on individual circumstances.

Interesting stuff!!!!
Mapman, The first performance of Bach's St. Matthew passion in Leipzig was met by utter bewilderment. They had never heard or conceived of the like. Reportedly, his estate, including far too much of his work, now lost to us, was auctioned off as scrap. We have a gentleman who visited a fish market in Leipzig 80 years after Bach's death, who found his fish wrapped in part of the autograph score, who fortuitously recognized its value and delivered it to Felix Mendelssohn, to thank. Otherwise, it would be lost to us. If these reports are true, it proves Martin Luther was quite right on this subject. Likewise, LvB's Eroica Symphony was met with head shaking. The first movement was longer than most symphonies. Stravinsky's Rite of Spring caused a riot, which in turn caused him to withdraw the ballet. These works are of course foundational works of the repertory now-- indisputably great in the minds of nearly everyone, except my good friend Schubert, who is not too keen on Stravinsky. In fact, as opposed to Mozart and Haydn, much of LvB's work did not meet with general public or critical approval. It was the cognoscente who sponsored him and truly appreciated his work. Give a listen to his Grosse Fugue or very late piano sonatas for an appreciation of how radical LvB was. 30 years ago, the works of Charles Ives was lost to me. Now I appreciate him very much. Let us be slow to condemn that which we do not immediately assimilate.

As for any comparisons of these Ikons to present day rock composers, I think it is a stretch.

And we still need Frogman and Learsfool to speak.
"As for any comparisons of these Ikons to present day rock composers, I think it is a stretch."

Frank Zappa?


One of my favorites who is way under the radar of many is former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, who has successfully been dabbling on the fringes of both rock and classical music now for well over 30 years and has many many excellent compositions under his belt.

Also much better known these days in Europe and Asia than in US.
I am excited to see this thread here - I have been arguing for years on this board that more audiophiles should educate themselves more about the music they listen to, as this will only increase their enjoyment. There have been some great comments here.

Rok, Mapman and Brownsfan have made good stabs at answering your question. However, if you really want to understand the changes in music over time, you need to understand more about music in the first place. I am not being condescending here - it really is difficult to discuss music without using musical terms. For you and anyone else interested, the very best book I know of for musical "laymen" is Aaron Copland's What To Listen For In Music. If you are more of a DVD/CD kind of guy, another great place to start would be those Great Courses series - pretty much anything that is done by Robert Greenberg. He is excellent at explaining music to non-musicians, and he has a couple of different courses available from that company on music history and music theory. He is fantastic. I took a couple of grad seminars from him in college, so yes I have personal experience with him.
***** I am not being condescending here*****

Of course you are!!! hahahahah But, you wouldn't be the Learsfool we all know and respect, if you weren't.

Brownsfan, I like some Stravinsky, "Dunbarton Oaks", L'histoire du soldat"and others.
His Cantata on Old English Texts is a masterwork. Ditto Mahler. In Music i look for pieces that lead me to my goal,
which is clarity of thought and peace of mind. That doesn't mean a piece of has to be soft and lyrical ,but for me, bombastic music is counter-productive.For others may be just the thing.

The only composer I really dislike is Wagner , loathe is more like it, IMO took one to know one when Adolf and Co. raised him to an idol. And yes I know bad people can write
good music, but there is a limit.

I don't think its sooo complicated why music changes. A composer has to make a living , when the powers that be relied on the Church as a legitimizer you got religous music. Breaking with the old order you got Beethoven. When nationalism was the agenda you got Sibelius. When you no longer need half-the population for anything other than consumers you get music that encourges navel-gazing etc etc etc At the MOST general level of analysis
its always follow the money. Of course there are many levels of analysis in social science just as in psychics or chemistry.
*****it really is difficult to discuss music without using musical terms*****

Now, this is very true. If I knew the correct terms, to express my thoughts, You and certain other people would not be so 'condescending' toward Moi. :)

Does Copeland's book explain Music, or HIS Music? I think I will buy the book just to prove a point. That is this: Knowledge will not make you like music that you currently don't like. To think otherwise, is to think that all I need to do, to fall in love with Philip Glass, is to read his book! Like, once he explains that nonsense, I will shout, AHA!!!!

I am always sort of suspicious of Music that has to be 'explained'.

One other thing that might factor into this thread is this: Should Music created, and Composers that Composed, in The 'Age of Hype',(mass media etc...), be scrutinized more closely?

*****Rok, Mapman and Brownsfan have made good stabs at answering your question. However, if you really want to understand the changes in music over time, you need to understand more about music in the first place*****

They didn't say anything I didn't understand. I felt Mapman nailed it. I agree with him. I have always said, 'music IS history'. Sometimes we make things more difficult than they have to be.

Anything that involves Humans, will change with time. Even the most resistant of all, Religion!

Musicians come from a different place than most listeners.
Classical Music is very important to me ,esp.since I can no longer pursue other great interests I once had had like hunting and hiking.
But at the end of the day, as much as I love it. its both an end in itself and a means I use to get both pleasure and a feeling that I'm closer to god by bathing in beauty on a daily basis. I read the Copland book , it was interesting and all but superfulous to my needs, its like telling you how your phone works . I don't care, I just want to make a call. And I'm the only one who knows who I want to call.

To a musician its his craft and or/obcession which is as it should be. Without the cook. nobody eats.
A serious musician is one of the few jobs truly worth doing .
Along the "music is hostory" lines, the current information revolution going on, where anyone has acces to almost anything anytime if they so choose, represents a BIG event in music history. PEople are more swamped with information and sources of entertainment than ever before. The smoke is far yet from clearing, but it is the best time ever to be a proactive music fan.

I say proactive in that the fruit is there for the taking but only for those with teh initiative to do it. Living by the norms and standards of even 10 years ago is a bottleneck.

If another new composition were not created for another 10 years, I would still probably be over my head in potential things to listen to that I would never have had access to before, that also happen to sound very good.

Its overwhelming to a certain extent, and I think that is a reason why things might seem so stagnant creatively these days.

But with just a good pair of earbuds attached to a computer, using youtube alone, the treasures to be found by amateurs providing their own source material alone is mindboggling. Screw the record companies. WHo needs them really anymore? Know what you seek and you will probably find it, and it will probably also have better sound quality than ever before for a price that even a young child music lover might afford.

If you can find a way to save it and then play it back on your SOTA reference home system, then you are truly in audiophile heaven.

So I guess what I am trying to say is a little education along the lines needed to locate mine, and enjoy all the good sounding music, both old and new, out there today via various channels, will go a long way. An appreciation of history and how music correlates to it is just one dimension of learning that helps, A LOT!!!!
No, education I feel has had little to do with expanding my music tastes.

I go on most Sundays to a place called Spin in Cambridge MA. People from all walks of life and different ages also go there. We play 2 selections each of whatever music we like then sign up to play 2 more till 8:00 pm when live bands start playing.

I have listened to and started to enjoy music I thought I would never like and purchase some also. I think if you have an open mind and enjoy music then your choices of music will expand by the experiences and people you meet through out your life.
Before my experience in England I had heard Handels Water Music many times but never really enjoyed it. It was to frilly for me. However when I was in London and went into a record store and asked what local music he would recommend(those are my souvenirs when I travel)I got an enjoyable 5 minute history lesson on Handels Water Music. Then later I was on the banks of the Thames and saw the setting(I am sure has changed over the years)where this music was designed to be played. With that experience I now appreciate and do really enjoy that music with that setting in my mind and knowing about a royal caravan wafting down the river. Increasing my appreciation for music. The more I know about most music the more I enjoy and appreciate it. To me music communicates and most of the time the more I know the more it can communicate, or at least I can enjoy deluding myself that it does.
Hevac1, sounds like education to me, trust you meant the formal version.

Marqmike, thanks for the great story. I have a good grasp of the "History of Western Civilization" if I do say so myself.
I'm positive I would not enjoy Classical music nearly as much without it.
Like Rok2id and Schubert's comments best--suspcious of music that has to be explained, and only I know who I want to call.

Some truth in all of the above posts, but there might be a fine distinction between music appreciation and what one really really likes.
Too many excellent posts to read them all. But, my simple answer is yes. My education in music for me started early with lessons on the violin from a master, but the lessons stopped all to early. Nonetheless, interest and education in music continued through high school and college , even though it was not my chosen field, and has continued ever since. Today, I am almost 70. About 15 years ago, I discovered my local public library had over 6,000 music CD's, and I spent several years exploring them. This introduced me to and musicians and genres I never knew about, and expanded my appreciation for forms that previously held little appeal. I respond emotionally to music, always looking for that which speaks to the soul. A great audio system helps. As my system has evolved, revisiting music in my library brings new pleasure and appreciation. The discovery of a new artist often leads to more education! It never needs to end. My tastes in music continues to expand. Classical will always be a core value, but almost everything else has value too.
There is truth to what Schubert says; musicians do, indeed, come from a different place than most listeners. It is a fairly common experience for musicians to enjoy PLAYING certain pieces (or the music of certain composers) much more than LISTENING to them. In these cases the satisfaction is derived from either the technical challenges that a particular composition poses or the unique performance-values dictated by the composer; these may have little to do with the ultimate value of the work on musical grounds. However, it's important to note that if the music is total crap no amount of the above will redeem it for a performer. Musicians can respect certain music while not necessarily liking it.

The listener has the luxury of not having to concern himself with matters of respect and simply determine wether he likes certain music or not; it's very difficult (and pointless) to argue otherwise. However, it is also true (and important to argue) that for those listeners who, out of simple curiosity or conviction to open-mindedness, are willing to challenge their preconceived notions of what is "beautiful", there exist unexpected musical rewards. This is a key point that I think is dismissed much too quickly. The very reason that makes music such a powerful force (the emotional content) is what makes this issue such a personal one; and one that can, unfortunately, become somewhat polarizing. For some, the very idea of education or analysis seems to diminish (or even shut down) the ability to enjoy music on a visceral level; for others, it fuels it. At the extreme there seems to be, for some, the idea that there MUST NOT be education for there to be full enjoyment of music on an emotional level. Why this is so would probably require a type of analysis way above my pay-grade, but it is certainly my experience and observation, and most certainly has to do with personality types. All this should transcend any type of judgment or criticism of the place that anyone of us chooses for music in our lives; but, I would suggest that, as a rule, the more that there exists this type of judgmental aversion to education and critical analysis the less weight that personal proclamations of what music is good, bad or worse will carry. It is certainly valid (on a personal level) for the listener to concern himself only with what he likes most in order to proclaim (IF ONE MUST) what is good music or which composer is "best", "worst" or even "underrated"; however, it would be extremely arrogant to assume that our own personal aesthetic universe can dictate what should be "good" for anyone except ourselves, without having (or being open to having) a fuller and more complete scope of everything that the art has to offer.

****...(I am) suspcious of music that has to be explained****

A very important comment in this discussion, and one that goes to some of the points that I have tried to make. From my vantage point that comment says much more about the person making the comment than about any music that he may be referring to. This is not meant to be a judgmental comment, but an inevitable conclusion. No music needs to be explained and that is not the OP's premise nor question.

**** Has education expanded your listening tastes?****

The answer will vary from listener to listener. A better question might be:

"CAN education expand your listening tastes?"

Absolutely and without a doubt! Not only can it expand our listening tastes, but also our enjoyment of whatever music we choose to listen to.
Seems to me as if posts on this thread are confusing formal
music education with the historical background of musical

There is the historical background of music, i.e. 'when',
'where' and by 'whom', and under what 'circumstances'. I
love knowing this.

And then there is the technical, academic, intellectual, and
formal training / educational aspects of the music. These
would focus on the 'How' and 'why'. Dare I say, Nuts and
Bolts. :) The composers intent?

Very nice to know, as is all knowledge, but not essential to
the enjoyment of music.

The historical stuff is not essential either, but I find
that part the most meaningful to me.

Of c
Frogman nailed it--articulated it with excellence. In my youth, I started down the road of music appreciation and found it unsatifying. I was afraid I'd get lost in the intellectual, cognitive element from what really moves me. Further I have a suspicion that acadamia, the Avante Guarde, the intelligencia are more concerned with perpetuating themselves than with enlightenment with of couse some exceptions. Add to that my somewhat rebellious nature; add to that, I'd rather be snowshoeing right now or gardening in the summer. That's my personality at play.

I do think that education in music is more cultural and social and less personal, and this cultural-social element does not take away from its importance. I'd just rather go out and snowshoe than advance my appreciation of music.

Happy listening.
If you love Classical music as much as I do, over 40 years of listening you pick up the elements and forms of music by yourself, not to mention reading 5k liner notes .
A love of Sibelius leads you to the current treasures pouring out of Finland etc etc.
The greatest advantage of auto-didactism is you own the knowledge you have, the obvious drawback is it takes more time.
All in all, for all but the most intellectually curious, NO put-down intended, the path laid done by Frogman is the most reasonable.
As in all things human , in the end love does conquer all.
Frogman, my next-door neighbor in Berlin was a stay at home Mom, who was also a gifted clarnetist and grad of the Berlin Hochschule of Music .
She subbed in about every ensemble in Berlin, including the Philharmonic. Through her I ocassionaly got to listen in on social conversations between top musicians. I once heard a 1st Chair in the greatest band in the world say he liked to play classical music but not listen to it. His hero seemed to be Muddy Waters !
Well stated analysis of the differences in personal approaches to listening and learning Frogman! Music for me is an amateurs passion, visual art is where I make my living. Frogman's comments regarding people's different degrees of receptiveness to education as enhancement to the musical arts also holds true for visual art. Some viewers want the whole background on a work of art, others think a visual work of art that can't stand on its own without explanation is work without merit. A problem (or maybe not, depending on your perspective) with the later emotion only based relationship with art is that it leaves today's art viewer and too a lesser degree, a listener, without any grounding in why art looks the way it does today or why art music sounds the way it does. Understanding how the arts got to the place they are today requires a lot of background learning, it's not an intuitive process. This leaves an awful lot of people on the outside looking in when it comes to art & music appreciation. As someone working within an academic environment, I find many contemporary artists and musicians want to pull off a near impossible balancing act. On one hand, they profess to want to broaden the appeal of contemporary art and music to a greater, non-specialist audience. But even though post-modern philosophy rejects the idea of the independent originator, they still secretly cling to the lure of the artist as an avante garde originator. An impossible to reconcile conundrum. Ananda Coomaraswmy, the philosopher and one time curator of Asian Art at the Boston Museum of Art once opined that in some sense, it's all been downhill for the arts since the Gothic times. That was the last time Western society shared a common musical and visual arts language throughout the entire spectrum of society. Everyone meet in the cathedral and understood the language of the service, the symbolism of the stained glass windows, etc. Once the arts became a status symbol of conspicuous consumption by the wealthy during the Renaissance, the division of social classes and associated consumptions of different art forms started to accelerate and that hasn't abated five hundred plus years later.
There is a "used to be " well-known tome titled " The Thriteenth Greatest of Centuries " by one James J. Walsh , that lays out the Gothic claim out in a masterful manner.
Well, as expected, Frogman provided what was missing. Now, if only he can provide the key to unlock Elliot Carter.
Exposure and, to some degree, repetition, are the bottom line.
If a piece doesn't hit you, listen again and again. If after ten times it does not connect then it is clearly not for you.

I remember spinning the LP of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for members of my own little garage rock band when SPLHCB first came out. When it was finished playing they laughed, shook their heads and told me I got burned on this one. Two weeks later they were all cruising the town with the same recording blasting out of their 8-track decks, and loving it endlessly.

So if you think you don't like a song or a style of music, give it a fair chance. I can say at this point I'm not a huge fan of opera and I just don't like rap/hip-hop. So I listen to the things I do like instead. There seems to be no end to the undiscovered music out there, be it rock or classical.
Tosta, your 10 times rule is dead brilliant !
Lots more great posts since I have been able to check in. Rok, I am not sure whether your question was serious or not, but yes, Copland's book is about all music. Most of the examples come from classical music, some jazz, but it is applicable to all forms of music. Frogman, you again have proven yourself the most articulate and reasonable person on this board. My hat is off to you, sir.
Schubert, thanks, but the 10X rule came from the teacher of a teacher in music school--which perhaps goes to prove the point that education does expand listening tastes.
"How I hate it, this knowledge which forces even art to join it."..Thomas Mann. Sorry. Couldn't resist. It's the rebel in me.
Most who appreciate "higher forms" of art the most seem to be more educated about things in general, either via formal education or real world experience or both most often to various degrees.

I think there is a correlation there that cannot be ignored.