Classical music does seem to be less popular today than in the past. One of the reasons for this may be the fact that today the pace of life is much accelerated, and people tend to gravitate towards music that reflects this. Classical music can also make people sleepy; which is a reason you may find that people would rather play rock or pop music while driving than classical music, since they fear falling asleep behind the wheel if they play soothing music.
The Slow Decline
Classical music has been losing popularity over the last couple of decades as reflected by low concert ticket sales. Only 3% of all tickets sold during 2008 were for concerts where classical music was played. The younger generation does not enjoy classical music. There are several reasons for this. Possibly because young people have never been exposed to such music as children, their parents also may not like classical music. Teens find the music boring and cannot relate to it. The advent of pop music and rock music with easily relatable lyrics is easier for teens to appreciate. The media, including movies, television shows and video games also all promote modern non-classical music. It is thus not surprising that classical music is losing popularity fast. Some classical musicians dispute this finding and suggest that the popularity of classical music is increasing, but if so, this may be only at older ages when people are more mature.
The teenagers and young adults today tend to have short attention spans, crave instant gratification and expect to do everything fast. Thus, for them listening to slow music that lasts a long time seems to be a waste of time. Classical music would be more popular if schools had adequate music programs. However, the reality today is that many schools do not have the funding for musical instruments and in some cases the music and arts program may be eliminated due to budget cuts. If students were learning to play musical instruments, then they would have a better appreciation and respect for classical music.
Another reason for the decrease in popularity in classical music and attendance at such concerts are the strict rules of behavior in place. A person cannot applaud during the concert and even coughing is frowned upon. Young people may find that this stifling atmosphere is unappealing and intimidating to them. They may feel that it is very boring to have to sit dead still and express no emotion for a couple of hours while listening to music that is rather slow and possibly sleep-producing. Some have advocated changing some of these rules to encourage younger audiences to attend these concerts.
It is a real shame that young people do not understand, or appreciate the value of classical music, and gravitate instead towards pop, rock, and hip-hop. Much of the blame lies with society and a culture that does not expose youngsters to the great classical music pieces that have withstood the test of time.