Perspective: The Dying Art of Classical Music

Classical music’s dwindling popularity with each generation


Art by Audrey Guo


104.9 FM: Classical KDFC. Very few people know the genre of music played by this radio station, let alone tune in to it during car rides. From my experience, this audience is limited to elderly people (a small portion of them), parents (only those who feel the need to educate their kids on classical music) and classical musicians.

As the demographic of classical music fans revolves around the older population, a stigma has formed around the art form for the younger generation. For them, classical music is perceived as boring, and, consequently, the people who admire classical music are deemed boring as well.

This shift is evident even in school music environments. In elementary and middle schools, mandatory music credits force musical instruments upon students as part of the curriculum. As a result, many students develop a negative view of the art of classical music. As I sat in these same music classes (which I did not enjoy despite my love for classical music), I observed my friends dissociating from the music.  They never shared my excitement for classical music. 

While my elementary school added a music program for enrichment purposes, I observed my classmates associate classical music with school and, consequently, defy it. Because of this stigma, I hid my love for playing the piano and the cello. 

However, I have learned to appreciate classical music’s many contributions to my role as a musician. I lead sections of 10-12 cellists and teach students of various ages and backgrounds. I have gained the confidence to enter and win competitions, and I excitedly air-play along to my favorite cello concerto on the radio.

As a result of not giving classical music a try, many students missed out on the opportunities to grow in these ways. Without giving classical music a chance because of the stigma around it, people are in danger of losing the valuable, timeless music created by brilliant artists many years ago.

To those who have fallen victim to this stigma, listen to 104.9 FM: Classical KDFC, and give classical music another try.

• Art by Audrey Guo