The evidence of the immediate appeal of most music to most people is the reaction of children to music. It is my experience that until children become overtly self-conscious about themselves and begin to subjectively discriminate between things (somewhere between ages 6 and 9), there are no more musical creatures on the planet. They will sing without inhibition at the drop of a hat and will dance to pretty much anything with a joy and abandon that the rest of us can only marvel at. They do not know “good music” from “bad music”; “right music” from “wrong music”; “modern music” from “music by dead people”; “Gangnam Style” from “Mozart”; they like pretty much ALL of it, and they will demonstrate their enthusiasm spontaneously.
(Just so, when certain folks tell me that opera – with its continuous singing – is “unnatural”, I suggest they watch a group of children at play. As often as not, the kids sing-song their words to themselves and/or to each other, and in doing so demonstrate what every song writer and opera composer knows: that by adding musical inflection to words one intensifies the meaning and the feelings behind those words a gazillion-fold. In truth, silly though it may, on occasion, appear, there is nothing more natural than opera.)
Tomorrow: suggestion number one for how to get and keep our kids interested in music.