I had a disquieting thought while standing on a subway platform a few minutes ago: Could it be that the average child is exposed to less than 100 pieces from the main three centuries of the Western canon over the course of lessons leading up to high school graduation?
None of my 12 piano students goes to concerts or listens to classical music in any other form outside their assigned pieces.
I did the math on getting through each Royal Conservatory of Music grade level as quickly as possible, which is Job No. 1 for most students. It came to more or less 100 individual pieces over the course of 10 years.
If that constitutes the sum total of a musical education, it isn’t one. Yet the format of back-to-back 30-, 45- and 60-minute private lessons allows no time to work on the listening and discussion that are part of broader knowledge and appreciation.
My hair stood up on end.
Let me know if I’m out to lunch.