Puppet Planet

Where I Get to Pull all the Strings

Secrets of Living the European Lifestyle (Part 7)

Marinate in Classical Music...

You know how the type of music you listen to conjures up different thoughts? When I have a lot on my plate, I like to set Pandora to my Beethoven channel. It just puts me in a frame of mind where the work just happens, and before I know it, time has gone by, and my to-do list has shrunk. The music has a way of taking the ‘ang’ out of angst and putting my mind at ease.

In Europe there are many public places, whether train stations, little boutiques, restaurants or cafes that have pleasant classical pieces playing overhead. One tiny wine bar called The Mozart remains a memorable experience due to the classic tunes (and, truth be told, simple and cozy decor) within. It made the place feel elegant and welcoming. I’ve also been told by more than a few folks that throughout Penn Station in New York City classical music replaced popular music and coincided with a decrease in crime in the station.

It is also common for the many, beautiful European churches and cathedrals to play classical or sacred pieces from their bell towers. What a delightful way to spend time with family and friends, listening to alluring music in a town or church square! Not something we have too many of in America, but there are ways to compensate.

I find myself lingering in shops that have the more appealing music and running from the ones with the loud banging ‘house’ music, a genre I was not all that familiar with until I heard it – it reminded me of my younger siblings banging on the pots and pans while playing on the floor of our modest kitchen in Upstate New York. This was, of course, their way of accompanying my mother, a classical pianist, who has played since age five and still delights audiences whenever she can.

I had no idea how lucky I was (and am) as I assumed everyone grew up singing along with Rachmaninoff’s preludes and Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto (It plays in my head as I write this!). Back then we invented our own lyrics for these and other enchanting pieces.

Please don’t ask me to sing them to you. Our invented language is nothing like the Elvish languages by Tolkien, but we thought it perfectly natural to invent language and lyrics for that matter, and it also made it easier for us to request the tunes we liked. Mom, can you play, “da, da-na, da-non, da-na, da, DA, da-na, da-non, da-na, da, DA, da, da, da, da, da, DA, da, da, da, da, da-da…”?

Classical music is a beautiful gift from the past and present as new composers arrive on the scene or play old favorites. Give it a try. Play it at home, at work or in your shop and see what transpires. Let me know how adding classical music is making your life better.

Yours,

Karen J.ludwig-van-beethoven-1233160023-article-0