Make My Day
MUSIC APPRECIATION FOR GUYS
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In my constant quest to help Guys transform themselves into Men, I've provided guidance on cooking, dining out, ordering wine at a fancy restaurant, and even relationships. I've taught Men how to become Guys with lessons on home remodeling, designing the perfect garage, and basic tool usage. Now it's time to discuss one of my biggest challenges: How to appreciate classical music.
No, no, listen. This is important. You need to know how to do this stuff. Some day, you'll be "invited" (dragged) by your "wife" or "girlfriend" (hopeless romantic) to a "symphony" (snooze fest) for a "romantic evening" (you figure it out, this is a family newspaper).
The first important rule about Classical music is that this is not rock and roll from the `60s and `70s. There are no screaming guitars, thumping bass lines, 17 minute drum solos, or drunken yells of "Do `Freebird!'" in the middle of the show. The performers don't wear skin tight outfits, stage makeup, or have giant hair. This is the true essence of music. It's soul-stirring, awe-inspiring beauty. Or at least as much beauty as you can get without explosions or a fire-spitting bass player.
But take heart, not all classical music is explosion free. For those Guys who love the sound of live mortar fire with their violins, you'll enjoy Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." This famous piece includes live cannons at the end, ending in a deeply satisfying series of explosions designed to bring joy into every Guy's heart.
Unfortunately, not every performance of the "1812 Overture" can end with the lobbing of a few rounds at the art museum. There are those wimpy symphonies who substitute kettle drums for cannons, citing "crowd safety" and "fire codes," and mumbling some nonsense about the "structural integrity" of the concert hall. A true aficionado of musical explosions can't be bothered with these ballistic wannabes.
Since most Guys don't have a musical background, and the only instrument they play is their stereo, it's a common misconception that most classical music will be strange and unfamiliar. But you may know more about classical music than you realize. As you attend performances, sooner or later, you'll recognize old classics like "The Rabbit of Seville," "Kill the Wabbit," and "that song with Mickey Mouse and All Those Brooms." And who can forget those memorable tunes, like "that song from `Breaking Away,'" "The Theme to the Lone Ranger," and "The One From the Movie Where Bo Derek was Running On the Beach."
See, classical music isn't so hard to understand, now is it? You knew a whole lot more about it than you realized.
Of course, there are a few things you need to learn before you finally attend your first performance. Unlike the other concerts you may have attended when you were younger, you can't bring coolers and hibachis into the concert hall. There won't be any beach balls or Frisbees being tossed around the crowd. And the conspicuous haze of smoke floating over the audience is noticeably absent. But you can handle it. After all, there could be explosions!
Think you're ready to go? Not so fast. I know you're excited, but there are a few important rules you need to remember when you're finally in the hall.
1. When you're attending the performance, it's important that you look, if not interested, at least awake. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. When the lights go down, the temptation will be able to shut your eyes. After all, the music is "relaxing." But resist the urge to catch a snooze until your wife or girlfriend drops off (trust me, she will). After that, you can nap harder than a sleep-deprived narcoleptic.
2. If you do get the napping nudge and evil look from your date, just say "I wanted to focus on my emotional response to the music, so I closed my eyes to avoid visual distractions." Explain away snores as "deep sighs of fulfillment and contentment."
3. Showing your appreciation for the music through polite applause is appropriate. Having your date sit on your shoulders and take her top off is not.
4. Holding a lighter up will only get you escorted from the performance. Lighters should not be used to get them to play "Stairway to Heaven." They don't know it.
5. That's a French horn, not a "pretzel trumpet."
6. They don't know "Dark Side of the Moon" either.
7. While the "1812 Overture" is known for its loud booming explosions, this does not mean that loud explosions will make every song better. Avoid the urge to set off Roman candles and M-80s in an attempt to liven up "Moonlight Sonata."