I have a problem.

You see, I love classical music.

Of course, I wasn’t supposed to. I was supposed to sit obediently at the piano for eight years. I was supposed to keep awake through tedious lectures on musical rudiments. I was supposed to pull a sixty on the practical exam and quit with a shiny grade twelve credit. That should’ve been my life—clean, orderly, unmusical.

But somewhere along the way I made a mistake. I started to embrace the music, broken and fragmented as it was under my two left hands. I opened my ears to five centuries of melodies and harmonies, from the delicate (Herr Mozart) to the grotesque (Comrade Prokofiev). Before I knew it, I was hooked.

As I spiralled deeper and deeper into the world of classical music, my cravings gradually got more and more intense. I soon tired of YouTube recordings and library CDs—I needed a stronger fix. I sought music from the source, untouched by studio equipment and low-quality speakers. I wanted it live.

It wasn’t long before I was out of pocket money. Every paycheck, allowance, and red pocket went straight to the box office on St. Andrew. I learned their names and saw them as heroes—musical director Peter Oundjian, concertmaster Jonathan Crow, even guest conductor Sir Andrew Davis. But to them, I was Patron 347930. Nothing more than a number on a list, like a name on a prison register. My parents never suspected a thing. To them, it was ‘education’ or ‘culture’, or some other nice, palatable name. I never stood a chance.

I’d like to say I could stop if I wanted to, but I can’t. It really changes your life, being a classical music addict. It’s all I listen to nowadays—nothing else gives me the same rush, the same depth of expression. And I’m not alone. There are thousands out there just like me, hooked for life. Nobody ever sees it coming. A sonata here, a nocturne there—before you know it, you’re out on the cold pavement standing in line for rush tickets.

Take a lesson from me. Say no to Dvořák.