I was very interested in this discussion.
In my case, I am sure that part of the reason I enjoy classical music
was that I was marched to piano lessons at the age of six. Around age
12 I switched to violin, and played that through high school (and xylophone
"bells" in marching band!). I was also in church choir around age 8--that
was a clever way my mom discovered to keep me from getting bored in
church. Anyway, the combination was enough to bring me to an understanding
of classical music, and give me the stamina to follow a long phrase and
to pace myself through movements, to listen for theme and development,
to understand harmonies a bit.
Even though I don't play or sing today, and I have not and never had any
special talent for music, I enjoyed playing and singing immensely, and
I still listen all the time.
Another example: I used to become terribly bored at school concerts
listening to the madrigal choir. But then I was asked to join, and when
I started singing madrigals, they became very compelling, so much so
that I was then able to listen to performances of them with patience and
That may not work for all kids. But it used to be common to have a
piano in every middle-class home, and everyone used to learn a bit of
music--recorder or singing-- in school. Sure, plenty of kids were turned
off by the difficulty and the practicing, but the net effect was that
more of them were able to appreciate it all their lives than today, when
the creation of music has been driven out of so many schools and homes.
For me, music was more like language than like entertainment. I had to
learn to speak it to be a part of it, I could not learn enough to enjoy
it only by listening. I know some people who can, but I was not one.