I have listened to some 'epic' music online and I find I more or less like it. But I'm having trouble understanding what makes it epic. For example, wikipedia mentions that this type of music can be described with 'feeling adjectives' such as powerful and uplifiting or dramatic, but you can have powerful, uplifting, dramatic pieces that aren't epic (Pachelbel's Canon is emotionally powerful and uplifting but it isn't epic).
Does it always have to be played by an orchestra?
What other characteristics (tempo, type of instrument, grave tones, ...) make it epic?
Any suggestions about improving the question?
I'll add some context if necessary: I'm a teacher and I was discussing music genres with my students. When 'epic music' came up, we were all stuck on 'it sounds epic' and 'it is played by an orchestra'. I'd like to be a bit more articulate next time the topic comes up.