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September is National Classical Music Month!

Musicians in concert
Larisa Birta
Musicians in concert

This is not a milestone year. That happens next year when Classical Music Month turns 30. But to me, there are things that should be celebrated “just because,” and don’t have to hinge on an anniversary year ending in a 5 or 0.

In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton declared that September would be known as Classical Music Month, via Proclamation 6716. In announcing this he wrote:

“Classical music is a celebration of artistic excellence. Great art endures through the ages, and in the United States we have embraced that great music and incorporated it into the American experience. Our best art reflects our Nation's spirit—that mixture of discipline and improvisation, the combination of strong individual voices working together at the same time, the bravado, the inventiveness, the dynamism of the American character. Classical music plays in harmony with that energy and spirit to become reinvigorated and reinvented with each new orchestra or chamber group, with every performance that rings out new and fresh.”

It's wonderful that Classical Music Month exists, but let’s be honest, it’s probably not top-of-mind, even for “serious” musicians.

So, what are things we can do to celebrate this month and make it matter? I have a few ideas:

  •  How about attending an in-person concert? It can be at Symphony Hall in Boston, one of the best halls for acoustics in the world, or it can be something as simple as hearing a soloist playing a half-hour recital at your local library. Local newspapers, orchestra websites, the websites for area music schools are all good places to check upcoming seasons.
  • Spread the joy, and take a friend or two with you. Especially someone who may have never attended a live classical music event.
  • Or, bring the music to you! Perhaps an organization to which you belong, or a town arts council, would be interested in hosting a community concert?
  • Encourage your child to take music lessons. There have been numerous studies that show learning a musical instrument helps develop children’s brains. They also develop confidence and discipline, and in return, broaden their social circles while learning a skill that provides a lifetime of joy (speaking from first-hand experience here!)
  • And it’s never too late for YOU to learn a musical instrument either. Always wanted to try the piano, violin, guitar or saxophone? Local teachers are standing by!
  • Think how you could incorporate classical music as you do other leisure activities. For example, I blast classical music (on 99.5 WCRB) while I’m gardening. (I swear the flowers respond beautifully to Vivaldi). One of my closest friends signed up for painting lessons earlier this year. I’ve got her listening to classical music while she’s creating . . . something she had never done before. What activities do you do to which you could add a classical music soundtrack?
  • Visit the CRB website often. We are constantly adding new articles to read, offering links to exclusive interviews with some of the most interesting composers and instrumentalists today, and offering links to on-demand concerts, to name a few.
  • Join GBH Music’s new Facebook group, where we and other listeners share stories and thoughts about music, classical and otherwise.
  • CRB Classical 99.5 is a public broadcasting station. That means that instead of relying on commercials for funding, we turn to our listeners to help keep the station, and this music, thriving. There will be a one-week Membership Drive coming up towards the end of the month. Plan to support the station with whatever amount is comfortable for you, so we in turn can share this timeless music with everyone from the local community to those streaming us around the world.
  • And last, but not least, make sure that every radio in your house and car is tuned to 99.5 WCRB. Make sure your smart speaker knows us, too. Download CRB’s free phone app from your app store so you can take along the best of classical music wherever you travel in the world. And stream CRB at this very website.

This may only be “Year 29” of Proclamation 6716, but maybe this list will be the launching pad to a wonderful year filled with new opportunities to explore and share the music that has delighted people for well over 450 years.
Whatever you are able to do to incorporate more classical into your life, let us know by dropping a note in the mail or contacting us through our social media accounts. We’re @CRBClassical.

Hope to hear from you, and Happy Classical Music Month!

Laura Carlo is the Morning Program Host for CRB.