Classical Music World: Easy Start To Knowing More

By ANN MCLAUGHLIN, Artistic Director
Los Alamos Concert Association
I will say it again: You don’t need to know anything about classical music to enjoy it.
But what if you really would like to know more about the art form without making too big a project out of it? 

Here are some suggestions for ways to get started that are easy and fun:

  • Listen to Performance Today on KUNM 89.5FM. It is broadcast for two hours beginning at 9 a.m. every weekday. Host Fred Child introduces live performances recorded in concert halls around the nation and the world featuring great orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists. Fred is the ideal host providing unpretentious and engaging commentary and interviews. The program is also available streaming at
  • Google “Dial a Musician”. Esteemed pianist, Orly Shaham tapped her vast network of musical friends and colleagues to answer questions sent in by listeners. Each segment lasts about 15 minutes and is focused on a single question with Orly placing a phone call to an appropriate musical friend for an answer. Some of the questions: Why does a harp have so many pedals? How do trombone players know where to position their arms to get different notes? How much do professional musicians earn? How do you hear the difference between major and minor keys? Here is the link you will need:
  • Check out YouTube which is about much more than viral cat videos! I use it all the time to get a feel for artists that the Los Alamos Concert Association is considering. I also use it to refresh my memory about repertoire that artists want to include on their programs. You might find it helpful to get familiar with music to be played at an upcoming concert. Or maybe you are not familiar with a particular composer and wonder what his (or her) music sounds like. Truly, and surprisingly, YouTube has become an invaluable classical music resource.  Just go to the site and search for the artist or composer or specific piece you would like to hear. You will most likely be presented with multiple options. 
  • Come to concerts presented by the Los Alamos Concert Association of course!  Nothing beats the experience of attending a live performance.  Our printed programs always include informative notes about the musicians and the music they will play. And, frequently, the artists will speak to the audience a little bit about the music as well. Check out our web site for (yes!) YouTube videos of the artists we present. Go to  right now and then click on “Watch the Dover Quartet here” and be amazed. This phenomenal young quartet will perform here on March 11.
  • Got a question? Ask me in an email and I’ll try to answer, maybe in my next column.
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