I wish I could have been there with him to hear what those kids brought to the music as they played. The setting makes all the difference for players and listeners alike.
My first encounter with the mystery of music occurred when I was about 12. Baffled by the contrast between individual sounds that I absolutely loved and others that I truly disliked I became fascinated. What could possibly be so powerful as to elicit such strong and such lasting impressions?
The question has been the subject of my entire musical life.
There is nothing wrong with exposing young people to masterworks. What is wrong is allowing them to get the feeling that all there is to it is playing the notes.