Classical Music Doesn’t Bite

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People often associate trumpets with war.  In the past, its loud voice would wake up the soldiers in the morning and would signal during battles.  The battle today is to inspire children to listen to classical music and jazz.  This music will never become obsolete.  You know which is the best-selling album in 2016, don’t you? Mozart!  Where can children hear such music – classics and jazz are not played often on the radio these days.  And for someone to be able to make a choice, one has to know what the options are.  

I was a pianist, but right before my entry exam at the Music School, I smashed my hand on a door.  I had to quickly choose another instrument and our house was full of trumpets from my dad and brother.  The inventor of the piston valves of the trumpet played with his hand wrapped in a towel so that people couldn’t copy his invention.  Just like me at the exam.  This is one of the stories I tell the children.  I play Haydn, Tchaikovsky, John Williams – themes from Star Wars. It was very difficult in the beginning, as I did not know how to connect. These are small children, fourth-graders – 9-10-years old.  They gradually taught me how to socialize with them.   I teach them that classical music is not scary or elitist.  What they enjoy most is the moment I give them the trumpet to try and play.  I am sure they will never forget these 20 seconds in their lives.  After me, my colleagues: flutists, drummers, guitarists tell their stories. 

I feel helpful and complete. One day I got a call from Bobi’s teacher. Bobi is autistic and does not like to touch anything that was touched by someone else.  During my lesson, I asked him to come and try the trumpet. He pulled out wipes and started cleaning it thoroughly.  Then he tried and pulled out a great sound. He is a talent! So his teacher called me to say that after my lesson, Bobi became more sociable and started communicating with his classmates.  

The goal of Fortissimo Class is not to make all students musicians, but to show them the beauty of music.  The final concerts of Fortissimo Class are a real treat – to see a hall full of children who clap and cheer as if they were at a rock concert and experience music with all their hearts – that is priceless!

Peter Makedonski, a trumpet player at the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra, a teacher at Fortissimo Class Program

 

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