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Do you gain anything from listening to a concert?
Do you think you gain something from listening to a classical concert? I go to some concerts, but afterwards I don’t remember anything.  I mean I guess some times I enjoy it, but mostly I find myself thinking of other things during the concert. Am I doing something wrong?
Hi John,
I'll have to be imprecise in my answer as otherwise it will get to be too long. Here is my opinion:

One of the many things classical music gives you is a certain education of your emotions. That is, people think of education as knowledge. You  go to school, you learn 2+5=8 (sorry, but schools these days are not very reliable, and in math it is very clear. I actually had teachers who taught essentially that, though of course in a bit more convoluted way. But I digress.) you learn about WWII, and perhaps some geography. These are knowledge based, and sometimes music is taught also in that context - Mozart lived in the 18th century, Beethoven in the 19th, The Beatles in the 20th, and so on.
But you are not the sum of your knowledge, and what you are taught in living is not simply knowledge. You develop, you develop through reading, through looking around you, talking to people, and listening to music. You learn from everything in your life. What then does listening to music teach you? One thing it improves is your emotions. What can I mean by that?

When you speak, when you read, you learn more words, more possibilities of how to express yourself. Some authors break with grammatical convention and show you new ways of how to say something. If you saw Spielberg's minority report, for instance, the first (astonishing) 1/2 hour shows you a new kind of space, of architecture and opens up a new possibility of how to encounter space in the world (rather than necessarily being "about" something).
Now what about our emotions. To be imprecise and quick, music shows us what kind of emotions can exist, and how our emotions can change with time. 
Literature describes people emotions and lets you "feel" them, and painting can show you an emotion to an extent, to a great extent actually. Music on the other hand has a more privileged relation to our e-motions, being about movement. (It is not an accident we dance to music, as music makes us move (Ludacris' Stand Up is a nice example). I am of course sketching an argument, not giving one.
You can think of music through time, think of baroque, classical, romantic, all obviously have a very different character and emotions going with them. Some hold up more today than others, but all give you some ideas of the breadth and kinds of emotions possible. Not unlike words.

Educating you, and your emotions, is what art does, but on a very different plane than knowledge. I was once in a lecture on art history where the professor explained how in some painting the painter shows all the different kinds of a certain emotion (for instance, terror, saddness etc.). I found his comment extremely enlightening, both about painting, about art in general, and showing the strong connections between the arts.

- a detail of a painting of Poussin.

Here painting tries to show you the different kinds of emotions, while music is more interested, I would say, in movement, and more detailed and subtle description of emotions and how they change in time. They don't replace each other, but I would again say that music has a privileged place with regards emotions for us.

Emotions, similarly as how to look, how to taste, need to be taught, and that is sadly not well understood currently in society. Knowledge is one thing, but trust me that when you listen to a concert, if you are actually listening, you gain a lot, and have learned a lot, even if you don't remember anything, and even if you dream away during the concert - that is what you are supposed to do many times.
Of course, listening to good performers, similarly as to good teachers, is crucial or otherwise you don't learn anything, and can even be mislead and taught wrong things.

Ok, I should finish, and will just add a personal anecdote regarding your questions. I was once in a concert, and as you say, was dreaming along as I usually do. Different things went through my mind. At some point I stopped and read the text as it was a Cantata by Bach, and to my great astonishment the text was talking about precisely the images and thoughts I was having. This I think would happen only with the greatest composers, but it was an interesting experiance, and later it happened to me several more times. 

I now notice I didn't answer you exactly to why concerts are important, compared to listening to a CD, but maybe I'll post again at a later time, and I somewhat doubt this is at the core of your question.
Hi John, I’m a musician and will answer your question from that angle. Of course, I believe it is very important to go listen to concerts even if you don’t remember a thing afterward. You enjoy the moment and then it is gone, but the memory stays even when you forgot the concert, the pieces, the interpretation etc... it’s not the memory of what you heard but one of a feeling inside you. The feeling of well-being after having seen, heard, experienced something beautiful. As a musician, I can actually remember some features of a concert, some interpretational decision that struck me and that I especially liked. I can still remember the tempi and the character given to a certain movement that I have never heard done that way before. What I can’t remember, are all those magic moments that touched me deeply. It can take the space of a movement, of a phrase, sometimes it is just a few notes. They happen and then they simply vanish, very difficult to analyze. Those moments are for me the best reason to go to concerts. It’s funny that it is precisely the things that I cannot analyze (and therefore learn and apply) that is for me the best motivation to go to listen.  
Hi John,
I often go to concerts.
I think it's a great experience and all concerts give us something. A good or sometimes a bad felling. Sometimes, I think of other things. Rarely. But what is magic is that it always remains a memory, a feeling, a general impression, or a particular time. We feel good, we enjoy the moment.
I remember so all concerts, they all have something special.
Generally, I prefer concerts in small rooms, churches, chapels small theaters. I appreciate this particular contact with musicians and the atmosphere of limited public. For example, I remember a recital by Arthur Schoonderwoerd on a forte piano, it was a magic moment, I remember my heart beating strong when I heard for the first time the sound of the fortepiano. But I can't remember anything else. I stayed at the end with others, and we showed the functioning of the fortepiano.
I also remeber concerts which let me indifferent, and I'm very sad not to have felt. I have the impression that I havn't understand, that I missed something.
My best memory is Brahms piano concerto n°2. Last week, in a small church, played by Claire Désert, one of the pianists (living) that I appreciate most. One of my favorite concerto, played by one of my favorite musician. I'm sad because I don't remember all the moment, but I was good. I remember it was beautifull. I remember the first notes of the concerto, the general character. After, I think that the time has stopped. I fell like I've been on another planet. And I was happy it was a great moment. And a week later I always remember this felling. I was happy when I return home and played the piano, thinking at this magic concert. That is why I will always go to the concert. It's never neutral.

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