Art Interests and Practices
The word "art" once had a very narrow meaning. It's used to refer to some traditional visual art forms, including painting, sculpture and architecture. Now it's obtained a much more general meaning. There seems to be no commonly agreed demarcation of art. As I understand it, art is the freest human creative activity and its results, in the form of art works. Art is free in two essential senses: First, it's free from reality or truth. This distinguishes it from science and philosophy. Whereas scientists and philosophers have to face the reality, artists could live in imagination and dreams in their professional role. Very often that mode of living would spill off into everyday life to a certain degree. Second, it's free from utility or goodness. This distinguishes it from technology. Whereas engineers have to keep utility, or at least functionality, in their mind, artists normally put usefulness aside. Hence the slogan L'art pour l'art. (See the cultural quadrants)
There are a variety of forms of art and there are various ways to classify the different forms. In Laokoon oder Über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie Lessing proposed that, whereas painting was a spatial art, poetry also had the temporal dimension. This was a good reflection of his own space and time. However, modern painting could easily incorporate the temporal dimension. And Chinese poems have the spatial dimension in both form and content, due to its unique mono-syllabic and normalized script, to the effect that every syllable has the same size in writing. In contrast, it's extremely difficult to take advantage of this aspect in writing poems with Western languages. A straightforward classification can be based on the media format. With this method, painting is an image art, music is a sound art and poetry is a language art (literature). Of course we need finer classification within each basic category. For instance, photography is also an image art, sound synthesis in a movie is another form of sound art, and alternative language arts include drama, prose and novel. On the other hand overlapping and combination is inevitable. Poetry is also a sound art. Film could incorporate almost all the other art forms in it.
The several art forms with which I have had more than superficial engagement happen to lie in different categories according to the above classification. I received little formal art education. All my interest in art was self-developed. In chronological order it emerged in classical music, photography and poetry. I'm just a classical music lover, but I have gotten more serious about the latter two art forms.
I've learned some music theory, gotten familiar with the history of classical music and listened to various works. My daughter started to learn to play piano this year. My limited music knowledge is still good enough to provide some guidance for her whenever she needs it. For one thing I check her music theory exercises before she sees the teacher each time. I did find people in England use slightly different music terms than people in America. Chance permitting, I also put my fingers on the key board. It's more a learning process for me too.
Since I'm just a music lover, I don't have obvious preference. Works from all periods and countries please my ears. My favorite composers are from different periods. Specifically they are Bach from the Baroque period, Mozart and Beethoven from the classical period, Tchaikovsky from the romantic period and Debussy from the modern period.