It doesn't take formal education for the masses to listen to their pop music. It takes many years of study, starting at a very young age, for someone to become a musician in a professional symphony orchestra or soloist, such as pianist or violinist, or opera/classical singer. It takes exposure, and some degree of experience and knowledge, to appreciate what is commonly, but incorrectly, called classical music. Progressives haven't been that successful, politically. If they had a better appreciation for the "classics" in the world of art -- music, plays, novels, painting, and scuplture -- maybe they would be able to understand cultural development affects things like economics. Music instruction has been empirically shown through research to have a positive affect on academic performance in other, more technical academic areas. You can't compare a 3 minute pop song to a 60 or 70 minute symphony. Growing up, I found that people who criticized classical music were often unsophisticated and ignorant in other areas as well. People said they didn't like something that they knew nothing about. This parallels those who don't know anything about illness, medicine, environmental science, genetics, anthropology, or physics and have false beliefs about science, as sometimes written about in Sketpical Inquirer magazine.
An abstract work of art, such as an instrumental musical composition with no lyrics, can be interpreted many ways, or can be appreciated on its own terms, as a language onto itself.
In order to listen to a work that is not all loud and electrified, and which lasts for more than a few minutes, you have to learn patience, and respect not only for the performers, but for the composer who wrote it, and for other audience members, if it is a live performance. Now adays, people at the symphony or at a recital sometimes allow their cell phones to go off, or rattle their programs, open candy wrappers noisily, cough loudly, or even drop things on the floor during a performance which others have often paid to go hear. This kind of impolite behavior at one time seemed less frequent at concerts. It meshes with a decline in music education in the schools. I took a college course in music appreciation. A person does not necessarily have to play an instrument or sing in a chorus to appreciate serious music. Symphony orchestras, opera companies, and ballet companies are non-profit organizations. Yet, a lot of people only listen to commercial pop music.
Many composers of serious music were known to have thought of some of their musical ideas while taking a walk in the woods. Gustav Mahler worked as a conductor, but built a "composer's cottage" out in the country where he would go to write music. At a rehearsal for one of his symphonies, a window was open, and the sound of chirping birds was heard in the hall. Mahler asked that the window be closed, because that bird call was not one of his, as he sometimes mimicked the general effect of bird songs in certain passages of music. This emphasis on nature is generally not found in other types of music, except for maybe in some folk songs sung by the late Pete Seger, who was clearly an environmentalist.
Many classical musicians, such as the pianist Lang Lang or violinist Midori, are from Asia. Among orchesra personnel are usually a substantial number of musicians of Asian heritage. Japan, China, South Korea, and Hong Kong all have professional orchestras. In America, we are not putting enough emphasis on music education and appreciation in America, as we slip behind other countries economically, as well.