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Thread: Can the concert hall experience attract younger audiences and survive?

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    The Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg has only been completed within the last 4 or so years at the cost of many many millions of Euro. It has apartments and presumably shopping malls within it. Perhaps that is the answer; multiplexes with diverse spaces. So, larold, you may be onto something.

    One thing I know: if I wanted to subscribe to my local symphony's season and wanted my wife to go with me, I'd have a much better chance if there was a flower show or something else going on there besides classical music. She might like the overture that starts the show, maybe even the symphony that follows, but she'd be bored by the time the concerto arrives. If she had an alternative at the venue she might agree to the main thing.
    Last edited by larold; May-26-2020 at 21:05.

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    I am 15 years old, and I have tried to get my friends to go to a symphony concert with me. I was actually surprised by how many of them really enjoyed it. They said that they would want to do that again. I am also surprised to see how many younger people attend the concerts, at least in my hometown. We have a society at the University of Michigan that allows for musicians from all over the world (such as the Berlin Phil, Mariinsky Orchestra to name a few). At these concerts, students get 10 dollar tickets, so I am seeing many younger people attend these concerts. This is just what I notice, however.

    I live an hour from Ann Arbor and have attended many concerts at U-M including Mendelssohn Theatre. I wish the whole world was as dynamic and diverse as Ann Arbor but it's not. I think you are very lucky to live where you do. As far as Michigan USA is concerned, Ann Arbor is an artistic paradise.
    Last edited by larold; May-26-2020 at 21:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    My college experience: all students were required to take one full year of humanities regardless of major. Not just HUM101, but you could mix up art history, music of western civ, American music, etc. Did it make CM converts? I don't know, but I would like to think it at least introduced people to music they would otherwise never experience. Concert attendance to a number of events was required, btw.

    Now, almost 50 years later that requirement is long gone. Gone too are Music of Western Civ and other courses. Now students can enroll in History of Rock n Roll, The Music of ABBA, Hip Hop and Rap music in American Culture, and other pointless courses. I can't even imagine a conservatory trained professor wanting to teach something like this. I've asked how they could sell out the great music of the past, music worth preserving. They just say that this is what students want, they don't want to learn about music for old white guys. The professors are likely products of the '60s mantra "Hey, hey, Ho, ho, Western Civ has Got to Go!"
    That last line of yours nailed it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    My college experience: all students were required to take one full year of humanities regardless of major. Not just HUM101, but you could mix up art history, music of western civ, American music, etc. Did it make CM converts? I don't know, but I would like to think it at least introduced people to music they would otherwise never experience. Concert attendance to a number of events was required, btw.

    Now, almost 50 years later that requirement is long gone. Gone too are Music of Western Civ and other courses. Now students can enroll in History of Rock n Roll, The Music of ABBA, Hip Hop and Rap music in American Culture, and other pointless courses. I can't even imagine a conservatory trained professor wanting to teach something like this. I've asked how they could sell out the great music of the past, music worth preserving. They just say that this is what students want, they don't want to learn about music for old white guys. The professors are likely products of the '60s mantra "Hey, hey, Ho, ho, Western Civ has Got to Go!"
    Yes, I agree that one should be acquainted with classical music just for the sake of it. I don't know how big are the differences between Europe and the US. In Europe classical music still remains to be a rather important part of "traditional" or "high" culture and as a result music history, focusing on classical music, is quite thoroughly taught. In Estonia we study it from 6th grade or so and then in high school again, even more in depth. I know that Germans take classical music still pretty seriously, very many young people study an instrument or voice etc.
    Last edited by annaw; May-26-2020 at 23:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Yes, I agree that one should be acquainted with classical music just for the sake of it. I don't know how big are the differences between Europe and the US. In Europe classical music still remains to be a rather important part of "traditional" or "high" culture and as a result music history, focusing on classical music, is quite thoroughly taught. In Estonia we study it from 6th grade or so and then in high school again, even more in depth. I know that Germans take classical music still pretty seriously, very many young people study an instrument or voice etc.
    In my experience, in the US most students are taught some rudiments of Western music history and often participate in class listening activities, but these rarely go beyond Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, and Debussy. Also these are usually done at a young age and are almost never covered in upper grades. I was fortunate enough to take a robust Western Civilization course in high school that included a good classical music element, but the texts I used propagated all sorts of classic myths (“Brahms was not a good melodist,” “Bach’s music is dry and academic,” “Mahler was an oddball who wrote bizarre, esoteric symphonies”, etc. etc.) and wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started listening for myself and discovered the truth.
    My blog, for everyone interested in reading my ramblings.

    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    In my experience, in the US most students are taught some rudiments of Western music history and often participate in class listening activities, but these rarely go beyond Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, and Debussy. Also these are usually done at a young age and are almost never covered in upper grades. I was fortunate enough to take a robust Western Civilization course in high school that included a good classical music element, but the texts I used propagated all sorts of classic myths (“Brahms was not a good melodist,” “Bach’s music is dry and academic,” “Mahler was an oddball who wrote bizarre, esoteric symphonies”, etc. etc.) and wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started listening for myself and discovered the truth.
    Yup, probably the teacher plays quite important role as well (some are rather anti-Wagner for example). In Estonia students are taught quite a lot of different lesser known (lesser known in normal world ) composers - Berlioz, Mussorgsky, Cage, Shostakovich, etc. It probably isn't everywhere in the country exactly the same way but should be more or less similar. It certainly helps to build a certain understanding but listening to 2 min excerpts from Mahler's symphonies doesn't give a very truthful image anyways. It still all comes down to personal interest I suppose.
    Last edited by annaw; May-27-2020 at 00:03.

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    I had a music history and appreciation class in college back in the fall for Western Civ. credit or something. All the other classes sounded boring to me.

    It was one of my favorite classes! It was two parts, but I wasn't able to take the second part in the spring because it conflicted with the schedule for my genetics class.

    We spent much time listening to music and watching YouTube videos of performances. We went from the middle ages to the Classical Period. I knew most of the material, but I figured it's either that or some regular history class. Now I like history, but a college level history class? Nope! Nope! Nope! I'll satisfy my cravings for history at the local historical society!

    The class was less like a regular class as there was only one written quiz. We wrote papers on whatever piece of music we wanted to for the period of time for the past few weeks. We also did presentations on a specific work or works or a composer or instrument, etc. It was open ended really, and we could show YouTube videos to the class. Some people found some rather obscure stuff I had never heard of before. I showed them a clip from Fidelio. Some students giggled watching Janowitz and Kollo sing "O namenlose Freude!". I was sure to show them a clip of Der Freischütz, to which the teacher responded, "That looks fun." Was she, the professor, not familiar with Der Freischütz! Is that what she implied? Oh dear.

    I'm not sure that was a college level class honestly, but I think having classes like that in high school would be great. Maybe they do that sort of thing around here. I don't know; I was homeschooled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Yup, probably the teacher plays quite important role as well (some are rather anti-Wagner for example). In Estonia students are taught quite a lot of different lesser known (lesser known in normal world ) composers - Berlioz, Mussorgsky, Cage, Shostakovich, etc. It probably isn't everywhere in the country exactly the same way but should be more or less similar. It certainly helps to build a certain understanding but listening to 2 min excerpts from Mahler's symphonies doesn't give a very truthful image anyways. It still all comes down to personal interest I suppose.
    The teacher does, indeed, play a major role in this vital cultural area. My sister, now retired, was a national award-winning Drama teacher (who started out teaching French and English). She worked at what we would regard as a 'challenging' school, with plenty of kids who were from government housing and who were often in trouble. During her drama classes - for all groups - she had the kids lying on the floor and listening to art music. After a time even the most troubled kids from the roughest backgrounds participated and enjoyed what she presented them. It was a major breakthrough and I still occasionally *meet people who refer to my sister and the great work she did in teaching. The next stop for them after that in Drama was poetry and acting out some of the ideas found in the poems; no matter how abstract, the kids would always come up with something. She loved her students and they loved her. When you have the confidence of kids like that they'll invariably walk over hot coals in bare feet for you.

    Anything and everything is possible.

    (*As luck would have it, one of my recently acquired friends worked at the same school as my sister, in the English/Drama faculty. When she told me she'd worked at that school I said nothing for some months and then one day quite recently I asked about working with my sister at that school. She enthusiastically spoke about her and recounted some very funny stories from that period; my sister has a great sense of humour and I could fill these pages with anecdotes she's told me over the years!)
    Last edited by Christabel; May-27-2020 at 01:07. Reason: Asterisk

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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    I'm not sure that was a college level class honestly, but I think having classes like that in high school would be great. Maybe they do that sort of thing around here. I don't know; I was homeschooled.
    Hey, so was I! Nerdy unsocialized homeschool power! My high school music course was actually integrated with Western philosophy and visual art, so I appreciated learning about the circumstances of composers and their outlooks with other cultural things that were going on at the same time. We weren’t really given many guidelines for how to listen to the music, though. One of my favorite memories from that is the scherzo from Brahms’s 4th symphony, which was one of the listening selections. The course told us to recognize the main theme by singing it to the words, “Come and get your beans, boys!” I get a little chuckle out of that whenever I listen to the symphony.
    My blog, for everyone interested in reading my ramblings.

    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    There's nothing wrong with these courses as a concept, just that they shouldn't "replace" ones in concert-hall music.
    Well though that's what happens when there's the belief that Beethoven is "no better than" (insert any number of pop stars here). It *will* replace the study of concert-hall music. That's postmodernism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by consuono View Post
    Well though that's what happens when there's the belief that Beethoven is "no better than" (insert any number of pop stars here). It *will* replace the study of concert-hall music. That's postmodernism.
    If there's anything guaranteed to tick me off it's this idea!! Cultural relativism; pass me the bucket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Hey, so was I! Nerdy unsocialized homeschool power! My high school music course was actually integrated with Western philosophy and visual art, so I appreciated learning about the circumstances of composers and their outlooks with other cultural things that were going on at the same time. We weren’t really given many guidelines for how to listen to the music, though. One of my favorite memories from that is the scherzo from Brahms’s 4th symphony, which was one of the listening selections. The course told us to recognize the main theme by singing it to the words, “Come and get your beans, boys!” I get a little chuckle out of that whenever I listen to the symphony.
    Oh cool! I think homeschooling can produce excellent results if done right. My English teacher said that, in his experience, homeschoolers tend to be the very best in the class or the very worst in the class. I'm glad to not be homeschooled now though! It got lonely! Silly COVID-19 is ruining homeschoolers' time to socialize.

    I don't know if you've seen the cartoon Story Bots, but on the first day of my music history class, the teacher played us the music episode from that cartoon. I was worried about where the class was going watching a kids' show!

    Good times, I guess, lol...

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