Classical Music Resolutions for 2010

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's resolutions offer the promise of a thinner, debt-free, highly sociable and more organized you. But all too often, our pledges never make it past that first January thaw. Consider a different action plan: one involving classical music. Here are five ways you can become a better classical music fan--and participant.

1. Take a music appreciation course

The New Year allows a chance to improve your listening skills or investigate a particular musical style or historical era. The Juilliard School's Evening Division offers 50 to 60 courses that cover music theory, ear-training, performance and composition. History survey courses focus on everything from Purcell to Mahler to 20th-century opera. Similar programs are offered at the Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music and the Music Conservatory of Westchester, among other schools.

2. Join an amateur band or orchestra

As featured in a previous Top 5, the New York area abounds in amateur choruses. Instrumentalists can take advantage of similar opportunities. The New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, the Centre City Symphony Orchestra and New York Repertory Orchestra let non-pros sink their teeth into blockbuster orchestral repertoire (Shostakovich, Mahler, Brahms) in social settings. For adults, there's New Horizons (pictured), a national association of concert bands and other ensembles with a New York chapter based at the Third Street Music School Settlement.

3. Learn an instrument

The winter months are an ideal time to learn (or re-learn) an instrument. Many major schools offer private instruction. Or consider, a resource for finding convenient private teachers in your ‘hood. If it's a practice space that you need, the 92nd Street Y offers practice room rentals as well as private instruction on virtually every major instrument.

4. Tap your inner do-gooder

Volunteers are often needed at music schools, community centers, concert venues and other arts institutions. Organizations range from the Turtle Bay Music School to Symphony Space to the granddaddy of them all, Carnegie Hall, whose Music Ambassadors program includes opportunities for tour guides, gift shop support, community outreach and more. For these and other opportunities, check out

5. Donate

So you don’t have the time to learn an instrument, take a class or volunteer, but still want to do your part for the arts in 2010? Consider a contribution to your favorite arts organization. Check out to decide what’s best for you.

What are your classical music resolutions for the coming year? Please share!

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Comments [5]

Tom Jenkins from UWS

I'm always happy to see classical music being introduced to the masses. I'm about to start classical singing lessons. The article on this site points those of us wanting to pursue the performance of classical music in the right direction for finding local singing lessons

Oct. 11 2011 06:39 PM
Andrea QasGuargis from New York City

I just wanted to say thank you to Brian Wise for selecting my image for this article. Wonderful!

Feb. 14 2010 01:31 PM
Bernie Hughes from NH

My resolution for the New Year is the same as every other:

"Don't give up anything fo Lent."

Jan. 07 2010 05:54 PM
Michael Domini from Upper West Side

TakeLessons is the music lessons company I use. They rock - lots of good teachers, convenient locations, and they have these online lesson journals that keep track of all my lessons. I'm 24 and have been with them for about a year.

Jan. 07 2010 11:32 AM
Biff Strongarm from UWS

I'd like to see more concerts outside of my usual orbit of Lincoln Center-Carnegie Hall-92nd Street Y this season. I've been hearing much about Le Poisson Rouge downtown, and even Miller Theater I get to far too infrequently. It shows that there's much more to NY's classical music scene than the "usual suspects," as much as I enjoy those, too.

Jan. 03 2010 07:32 AM

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