The Noun/Verb of Music Appreciation

Music appreciation can be broken down into noun and verb. The noun is the music being appreciated and the verb is the appreciation. If one were look at the syllabi for these classes, most focus the first few weeks on the verb: pitch, rhythm, melody, timbre, etc.

After these weeks go by there is an immediate shift towards the noun: an overview of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, 20th Century, and what have you. Noun outweighs the verb in regards to time spent. One could also argue that the time on the verb, no matter how little, is foundational for what attention is placed on the noun.

Either option stems from a general question: what is music appreciation comprised of? Because, come to think of it, all noun would be like a music history class and all verb would be a music theory class. Music appreciation invites both noun and verb into the fold. It operates from a different ratio, a different recipe.

And yet is there a golden mean for music appreciation? Can we even quantify it? An answer seems inconsequential to the fact that everyone appreciates differently and appreciates different kinds of music. There is truth to that. Maybe a music appreciation class should be centered on examining and exploring the student’s own kind of music appreciation, whatever that may be.


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