What You Know About Popular Opinion May Be Wrong

For reasons that shall remain undisclosed, I took a lot of online polls in the past few days. In there were some real surprises when I saw the percentages. One of the questions was “Do you play a musical instrument?” I’d like you to think about this question a minute and guess what the answer was. Ready? Over 50% of respondents said that they do play (currently) a musical instrument.

Another question, and one that truly startled me, was how many people had been to (and liked) an opera. More than forty per cent of respondents had been to an opera and enjoyed it! Now, just to put that in perspective, approximately the same percentage of respondents wear watches. And the percentage of respondents who enjoy opera is more than twice the percentage of people who watch soap operas!

orchestra with bassoonist, violinist, flutist, bassist in foreground; in background women in tutus on stage

Opera at the Orchestra
Edgar Degas

So before people begin to think of classical music or opera as “elitist,” take a moment and remember these polls. There is a lot more support out there for classical music and opera than we think. This is also in evidence by the number of student inquiries I get about opera and classical piano. Almost no-one calls me to learn to sing country music or gospel, or any one of the numerous other forms. While this may be owed to my success in marketing myself to a niche, the number of people who call me wanting to learn to play classical piano, or who call me about learning to sing opera, is amazing. In fact, I am willing to bet that there are others out there who just either aren’t ready to admit it yet, or who would like it if they only tried it. If you fall into that last category, why not try listening to some classical music? You may just join the most popular fan club on the planet!

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