Ok folks, let’s just take a moment to thank TikTok, because we’ve got a special treat today.
I recently connected with an incredibly talented TikTok creator who I’ve been following for a while because of his refreshing take on classical music.
Joe Sedarski is a student at Boston University who has over 25k followers on TikTok celebrating the awesomeness of classical music.
Listen, I’ve had a very complicated relationship with classical music (that I don’t feel like getting into right now) but lately I’ve been changing my tune.
I’ve always loved hints of classical music in pop and rock songs, but things like the Bridgerton soundtrack and Joe’s TikTok have recently got me curious about exploring new ways to connect with it.
So, after a 2 hour Zoom call talking about all things music, we decided to talk a little more about it on the blog!
Kelly: Hi Joe! I’m so excited to provide this space to talk about classical music and how cool it is to just soak in it. It’s become a new favorite thing to soak in classical music while I journal. Tell us a little about who you are and what you’re all about.
Joe: Very simply, I am a music maker. My name is Joseph Sedarski and I’m a Mexican-American born and raised in Southeast Minnesota to a family of 9. Why my parents decided to live in freezing Minnesota while the beaches of Mexico are a thing, I’ll never know. I live in Boston and currently study at Boston University. Again, I’m a music maker, so I’m all about the ways you can reduce, expand, create, and enjoy music.
K: What are you currently studying?
J: I’m currently studying Music Theory and Composition under Joshua Fineberg.
K: How long have you been fascinated with classical music?
J: Always. Music has been and is a big part of my family. We listen to music while we cook, eat, and have dinner parties. We had a piano growing up and some of my siblings played so it wasn’t uncommon to hear Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin in my home. I watched as my siblings played and became immensely fascinated and slightly jealous and took it upon myself to teach myself to play piano as well.
K: What was one of your first standout memories listening to a classical music piece?
J: I remember when I was about 10 or 11 I was laying in my bed listening to the famous 5th Symphony by Beethoven. “DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUN” seemed to ring in my inner ear, traveling all the way to my heart where the music caused my emotions to soar — carried by the music. I had heard the piece before, but there was something about listening to the music while laying in my bed, the lights off, the covers pulled up to my chin that just felt amazingly intimate. It was like the 5th Symphony was written for me.
K: How do you personally experience classical music? Like what do you pay attention to, what are some occasions you run to listen, are you emotionally affected in any way?
J: I think I personally experience classical music the same way I experience any other genre of music. You hear a particular note, chord, verse, beat, or lick that just really intrigues you and makes you want to listen to more. For me, I love to listen to music that makes me dance, pause, or wait. Like, I’m a sucker for delayed resolutions. It gets me every time. Classical music is a really cool genre because of all the involved things. So when I listen to classical music pieces, a question I have is ‘What are all the instruments and what are they doing?’ Again, classical music is so intimate for me. Often I’ll be listening on Spotify with Beats over my ears and just enjoying it, being carried by it.
K: What’s your favorite way to listen?
J: I LOVE to listen alone. I’m totally the type of person to dance or sing while no one is looking so going to the concert hall can be a little stifling for me but it’s another big way I love to listen to music.
K: What led you to start sharing on TikTok?
J: I’ve always been one to gravitate towards exciting things and at the start of the pandemic, like a lot of people, I found myself gravitating towards TikTok as a way to pass the time. I was already starting to share my music online with people on Instagram and Facebook, so it felt very natural to continue sharing my story and my love for music on TikTok as well.
K: What would you tell people like me that are curious about exploring classical music and developing a deeper understanding of it?
J: That’s a great question. People like to make this a complicated answer. They’ll say “Oh, you need to start looking at Beethoven, Mozart, etc.” or “Start to learn music theory and music fundamentals.” While listening to past masters of music and learning music theory will definitely deepen a musical experience, it is not necessary. When you’re listening to something new and unfamiliar, it’s common to get caught up in the fact that it’s new or different instead of absorbing the piece and soaking it in. For me, diving deeper into classical music and exploring what it’s all about should be about you in the moment, not you as a musical genius. My biggest piece of advice is take a look at a curated playlist or library similar to ones you find on Spotify and SoundCloud and take a listen. Notice things, remark on things — in general just reflect. Did you like it, not like it, what’re some things you were waiting for, did your expectations get met? Those types of questions.
K: You make music of your own as a composer. How would you describe your music?
J: I love this question so much. I would say my music is the best of both worlds. I love to experiment and make music that pushes the boundaries. But I also am a sucker for Disney soundtracks, so I love to compose music that comforts me or brings me peace.
K: Which of your musical creations are you most proud of so far?
That’s such a hard question to answer. Man. It’s like picking your favorite book. Each one is so different and unique and teaches you different things. So while I might not have an answer to what creation of mine is my favorite, I’ve been recently very impacted by “Gradus ad Paradisum.” It’s a string quartet I wrote a couple years ago. I didn’t put any thought into it, other than I wanted this piece to reflect my emotional growth from depression to hope. Like a lot of young adults, I struggled with mental health so I wanted to write something that acknowledges that struggle but offered hope to continue. With a lot of things changing in my life, I still look to that piece to give me hope and encourage me to continue.
K: What are your goals for the future musically?
J: I’m not sure yet. In an ideal world, I can be the most artistically free and get paid for it. In the meantime, my only goal is to be as skilled and artistic as I can be.
K: What song best describes how you feel right now?
J: Ok, this is so lame and so nerdy but there’s this piece called Prologo from an opera called “L’Orfeo” and it’s really fun and rustic and full of energy. It embodies my mood perfectly right now!
What a solid dude right? No choice but to stan, folks. Speaking of curated playlists, Joe and I — but mostly Joe — compiled some pieces to get you exploring classical music. Believe me y’all, it’s as much of a playlist for me as it is for you, so I’m pumped and beyond thankful for this connection.
I appreciate Joe’s perspective so much that I’ve invited him to be one of my first guest contributors! You’ll be hearing his voice on this site like a much needed baritone. Stay tuned!
If you’re interested in contributing, send me a message and I’d love to tell you more how we can make it happen!