There's a pretty good argument to be made that music school ruins music. Once you learn the habit of listening critically -and once your ear has been fine-tuned to detect subtle differences of pitch and timing- it's tough to just sit back, listen, and enjoy.
Handicapped as I am, I still schlep to the symphony. And sit. And listen. And enjoy. And make snarky comments in my head. (Was that a note, or did you accidentally hiccup into your flute?) On Saturday I took in a Thomas Ades suite (Hmmm), Beethoven's second piano concerto (he got more interesting later), and an entire Sibelius symphony (LIKE TAKING A BATH IN A VAT OF SCALDING VELVEETA CHEESE.) Program summation: Eh.
Still, I'm grateful I went. The piano soloist played two encores, little Chopin pieces that skirled along the keyboard and skittered from one color to the next. The pieces were beautiful, but they weren't what grabbed me. Nor was the pianist, though she was possessed of a shiny shirt and an attractive fluidity of line. Close by, silent, seated, on display, the 50-plus orchestral musicians cocked their ears.
It is quite something to watch a symphony orchestra listen. I'd sit through another Sibelius symphony for it. Maybe.