I’ve been thinking this one for a while, but I thought I might as well put it out there seeing as it’s the beginning of a new year.

In the classical music industry – an industry that I should say I’m quite delighted to be devoting my time to helping – we talk a lot about audience development and trying to increase  audiences. However, this can mean different things to different people. To most in the industry, it’s about finding a few new people who are nearly fans of live classical music and seeing if we can rope them in. Or it’s getting that person who goes to two concerts a year to stump up and go to seven.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but I’d like to suggest something a little more adventurous. Never mind the person who goes to two concerts. (Well, actually, don’t ignore them – they are indeed the next big prospect.) But why not set out sights on the big game?

Yes, I’m talking the person out there who pours a fortune into live performing arts but just does not get your fascination with classical music. You know the person I’m talking about. It could be the theatre junkie who has subscriptions to two of your local theatre companies, loves stories and live performance – but classical music leaves him cold.

It could be the person who adores musical theatre and will think nothing of flying around the world to Broadway every few years to catch the latest shows. But a string quartet seems rather dull in comparison.

It could be that 20-something you know, with their first full-time job, who went and saw Muse, U2 and Bon Jovi, and didn’t batter an eyelid to get in the A Reserve area.

What about these people?

So I’ve come up with a challenge for 2011 – Classical Music Fans, 2011 is the year of the “Convert a Philistine” challenge. Your goal – to see if, in one year, you can take one of your “I think classical music is boring” friends and convert them into a die-hard classical music fan. (Or if not a die-hard fan, at least someone who wants to explore more – which is all good classical music fans start.)

There’s more to discuss about this, but that’ll do for the day. Who’s in?

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2 thoughts on “A Challenge For The Classical Music World

  1. Hey Matt … I love the idea of this, everything about it except for that one little detail of the “philistine” label for people who are not moved by classical music. If I have learned anything over the last couple of years, where my musical tastes have blossomed out into areas I wold never have thought I could have enjoyed, much less felt passionately about, it’s that we should never, ever, create a hierarchy of music, never allow ourselves to think that one genre of music is superior to another because, as I see it, there is greatness and mediocrity everywhere in music. I tend to think that one of the biggest impediments to people being moved by classical music is our own tendency, at times, to think our music is superior, and that other music, and the people who listen to it, are somehow beneath us.

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