About James P. Reed

American & Free
is Mr. Reed’s first complete nonfiction book, about classical music.  Jim approaches the subject as an educator and an avid listener with training in psychology.  He maintains a firm belief that music is a healthy part of a good life and communicates that with a strong research and technical writing background.

Jim also has a concern for making the enjoyment of classical music more affordable through the increased use of public libraries.

His previous writing experiences have been of a technical and professional nature. Jim’s publications have included university - based research, government, and non - profit health agency documents.  During the mid - 1980’s, he wrote a monthly column for HardCopy, the magazine of the Chicago Computer Society.  He has also written numerous strategic plans and market research documents for Fortune 500 and other clients while he worked for a “Big 8” accounting firm.

Jim was raised in a small, farm village in southern Michigan.  From there, he attended Eastern Michigan University where he eventually, after going to Vietnam for a while, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology.  Later he earned a master’s degree in public health from The University of Michigan.

For the past eight years, Jim has been teaching college courses for Urbana University, the University of Cincinnati, and Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology, where he has settled into a full - time teaching position.  He teaches mostly basic psychology courses and a few other things such as economics and computer skills.

In addition to his two degrees, Jim has done post - graduate work at Meadville Lombard Theological School, The University of Chicago, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and at The Ohio State University.

This book is being published posthumously by Jim’s wife, Gayle Reed.  Jim died at home on May 2, 2012 after a long illness.

The Book

American & Free

An Invitation To Classical Music


James P. Reed

OS Publishing
PO Box 133
Lakeview, Ohio 43331 USA

American & Free

An Invitation To Classical Music

Copyright © 1997 By James P. Reed

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Editor – Jane Baker

Graphic Designer – Jessica Kerbawy, JK Create

All books are available for corporate training, premiums, or special promotions.  For details contact Charles Lee Emerson, Proprietary Markets, OS Publishing, PO Box 133, Lakeview, Ohio 43331 USA.
ISBN 978-1-48255-610-0

Printed in the United States of America.


This book is dedicated to children,
their parents, their grandparents and families,
with special thanks to
all of my students, past and present.

James P. Reed


That is right, folks.  Yet another book on classical music.  Will it ever end?  What is so new and different that this book needed to be written?  Why should you spend your hard earned money on something that still will not tell you how or why you should enjoy classical music?  Especially since you probably do not understand what it even is?

Well, the long and the short of it is this.  American & Free was written to be informative about a number of aspects of classical music currently not in print.  An underlying emphasis is made on borrowing music from the 86% of 8,921 public libraries that carry recordings on compact discs, cassettes, or records.

There are a couple of chapters detailing how to start out listening to classical music, with detailed descriptions of short, five - twenty minute, works you can experiment with before jumping up to longer symphonies, if you ever do.  The second one of these chapters was written entirely for children and youth.  It focuses on music especially written for young people.  And the book was written so it can be easily read by adolescents and people without a high school or college education.

There are separate chapters on every aspect of classical music, starting with a brief history and discussion of the language used, then going through all of the different forms of classical music.  American classical music is given special coverage for the first time in a book reviewing good works to listen to.  And a detailed list of music is provided so you are able to consider thousands of works to explore listening to.

The psychology teacher, social scientist, and photographer in me hopes this book has captured the image and provided the means by which many more people will find their way to learning about and enjoying classical music, especially American classical music.


This book grew out of my own search for information about classical music, especially by American composers.  Along the way, numerous folks and individuals have been enthusiastically helpful in guiding me through the process and towards information necessary to write this book.  Before I start naming a variety of people and organizations, I want to give a very special thanks to Jan Zalla, who provided the feedback, support, and encouragement I needed to pursue and complete this enormous project, among countless other things.  Another special thanks goes to Richard Brush, who along with Jan, was also very encouraging and supportive of me.  Without the two of them, this book would never have been written.

The Wright Public Library and the Dayton-Montgomery Public Libraries were invaluable with their holdings of classical music recordings as well as with their book collections and helpful, cooperative librarians.  Kim Coughner, a delightful photographer and friend, planted the seed that grew into this book.  Judy Brown, Clay White, Michelle Murphy, Beverly Kincses, Karen Frederick, John Glassmeyer, and Debbie Plummer, as well as many of my students, have been dear friends and especially helpful in their support, encouragement, and feedback throughout the grueling process of research and writing.

My mother, Ann Reed, has served as another wonderful source of support and inspiration as have the memories of my father, Paul.  Additional inspiration has also come from my favorite musicians, Matt and Marc Enslin and their parents, Sue, my sister, and Dave.  Broad-based support of my creative endeavors has come from two other wonderful photographers, John Ford and Norm Halm.  When it comes to writing in general, I owe a great deal of thanks to Charmagne Polen who has always encouraged me to write more. Also, another very special thanks goes to Helen Morris, who has supported and encouraged me in everything I have undertaken since I first came to know her.  Two other important people are Florence Gex and Latarsha Briggs, who have done their best to make sure I am still around and doing okay in spite of my tendencies to get lost in personal projects.  And, thanks to the book club I belong to, which is a delightful group of men I always enjoy meeting with.

Border’s Books & Music, Barnes & Knoble, Books & Company, and Half Price Books have been enormously helpful through the availability of their many resources and places to browse and read from time to time.

Second Time Around; Ozarka Discs & Tapes; Half Price Books, Magazines & Records; Disc-Go-Round; and CD Connection have been invaluable in being able to trade for or purchase countless, used compact disc and cassette recordings of classical music.  Even the Internet was useful at times.

Last, and not to be overlooked, thanks to the thousands of traditional and non-traditional students who have sat in my college and Sunday school classes over the past decade or more.  Without their wisdom and advice from time to time, I probably would never have figured out how to go about trying to help people learn things and just kept trying to teach them.


Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Attributed to Kalidasa


This book was written primarily for people who have not completed high school or college.  It is a very basic work, a primer, if you will.  Classical music should be enjoyed by all people: particularly those who are not comfortable with books and especially people on limited or fixed incomes.  Fundamental concepts are repeated at times.  Some information appears more than once.  This is to make it easy to follow the discussion and learn about classical music.  This book is not intended to offend the sensitivities of the wonderful people, who create, support, and sustain classical music.  Nor is anything stated in it meant to be an affront to classical music or the people who already like it.  If you find that you are offended by my approach, please, accept my most sincere apologies.

OS Publishing
PO Box 133
Lakeview, Ohio 43331 USA

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