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When I first caught the classical music bug, the idea that I could go to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and see and hear many of the musicians that I was purchasing recordings by was very, very exciting. It was like a brand new world had opened up to me.

So I can't agree that concert halls are out of date or no longer relevant, or viable. Instead, I think they can potentially provide experiences that will be cherished and stay with a person for the rest of their lives. In those early years, for example, I saw many concerts that I'll never forget, and great musicians that I'm so grateful to have heard live: such as Eugen Jochum conduct Bruckner's 9th, Kurt Masur & the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt, Oleg Kagan, the Staatskapelle Dresden, Sir Neville Marriner conduct Elgar's Enigma Variations, the Philadelphia Orchestra playing a broad spectrum of repertory (everything from Bach's St. Matthew Passion to a symphony by William Schuman, with the composer in attendance), various string quartets, Arleen Auger, Elly Ameling, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alfred Brendel, Jorge Bolet, Alicia de Larrocha, etc. etc.

However, if concert halls today are partly failing to provide those kinds of treasurable experiences, then it's not the concert halls that are the problem, but rather the decline of the musical culture. Which again, brings me back to providing a better elementary school music education for kids. That's a key, IMO--to teach children the rudiments and fundamentals of music (which will support all music).

Listening to music is like eating food and drinking water. It's a necessity for most human beings. So, we need to simply expand musical horizons in the young, and trust that they will find their own way.

I also wanted to point out that years back there was a free download made available of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies, and it turned out to be the biggest download in the history of the internet at the time. So, classical music does have a broad appeal. Beethoven is actually hugely popular.

And therefore, maybe the problem lies more with the exhorbitant prices of tickets keeping people away from the concert halls, and especially young people. In my early concert going days, I could buy cheap seats up in the rafters at the Academy of Music, where I'd sit with Curtis students, etc., and the sound was very good. My point being that it was affordable, and I went on a semi-regular basis (even though I didn't have much money). But today, why go see a concert when you can buy two or three (or more) recordings for less? or go on You Tube or Spotify and listen for free?

Well, for starters, to answer my own question, because live music is better. It sounds a lot better (& especially chamber music). And it is also a shared, communal experience and that can be very special and memorable, at least, when the concert is special. In other words, it enriches our lives.

Perhaps another problem lies with the programming in concert halls these days? Even I don't always find it very appealing or interesting much of the time. For example, why would I pay good money to go hear a Brahms Symphony and the Mendelssohn or Bruch Violin Concerto and an Overture of some kind, yet again? I've heard all that many times over on both recordings and via unadventurous radio programming, and I'm not going to pay good money to hear it in a concert hall. Yet, there are many programs that I would pay money to go see. I just don't come across them very often.

For example, I was recently reading about an Arvo Pärt festival out in the Pacific Northwest that completely sold out. Evidently, people really want to hear the music of Pärt and Tavener and the like. Personally, I've never heard Pärt or Tavener's music live. In fact, I don't recall ever having had the opportunity to do so.

Therefore, I suspect that unimaginative concert programing and high ticket prices have played a significant role in the decline of the concert hall experience and attendance (that is, if it has indeed declined in many places?).

Where I live, concert hall attendance is not down, but the audience is mostly white haired and elderly. In other words, it's going to go down, eventually...

I also wonder if the period movement hasn't largely appropriated a once vitally important part of orchestra programming by taking over the domain of Baroque music, which used to be programmed by orchestras frequently? Especially when you consider that many people used to get into classical music for the first time through Baroque music (Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, etc.). In addition, my impression has been that period groups don't actually tour all that much, and certainly aren't as plentiful as orchestras (i.e., in every city). So where do people generally hear all that Baroque music today? On recordings, I'd imagine. Or, on the radio. Or worse, on TV commercials and elevators. Or, not at all...

Another problem is how dumb & false the commercial music establishment has become, or at least can often be in regards to how it chooses to promote classical music and most importantly, who it promotes. There was a time when it used to promote the best musicians in the world (because it generally knew who those musicians were--since it was a more finite group, and the musical world was smaller). But it no longer does that (for the most part). In recent decades, it promotes, pumps, and hypes lesser musicians, and ignores many of the finest musicians in the world today (who are relegated to small, obscure labels, or having to start their own record labels!). In other words, it's got a biased agenda, or it's just plain musically stupid.

How appealing is that? & how convincing and inspiring? even for, or rather especially for people that don't know much? Personally, I don't want to see many of these overly hyped musicians myself. The one recording by them that I was duped into buying was enough. Even if someone gave me a free ticket, I probably wouldn't go. So why should the "average Joe" go, and if he (or she) does, is it going to be a truly memorable experience? I doubt it.

So, to me, it appears to be a variety of different issues or problems, all combining together. But overall, I believe there has been a cultural decline to some degree. & until that ship is righted, how can we expect for there to be a wider resurgence for classical music?

I should also point out that back in the 1970s & 80s, I doubt the idea for this thread would have even have occurred to anyone, as the basis for a discussion. Why? Because people were too busy making music and listening to all kinds of music, including classical. The musical world was generally healthier and more vibrant. Music was music. It was all more celebrated. Maybe the more 'metallic' sounding CD ruined all that. At least, I'm not surprised that the LP has returned from the dead...
 

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Well, for starters, to answer my own question, because live music is better. It sounds a lot better (& especially chamber music). And it is also a shared, communal experience and that can be very special and memorable, at least, when the concert is special. In other words, it enriches our lives.
I agree completely. One of the harshest consequences for musicians of the covid shutdown (aside from the deaths) was the canceling of concerts and tours, now for more than a year.

There is nothing better than a live performance. I've always thought of recordings as mere reproductions, a snapshot of one performance which was done in the sterile environment of a recording studio, no audience.

Which is why I have also preferred live concert recordings.
 

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Its always been a case that classical music had to be funded by something approximating noblesse oblige.

In the vinyl era, the major labels used a percentage of their massive sales of Broadway musicals and light classical like Mantovani to fund the likes of Ormandy, Bernstein, Szell and so on. I've mentioned this many times before, but the Philadelphia Orchestra's biggest selling album was a selection of orchestral pops conducted by Arthur Fiedler. Recordings of serious music would sell only a fraction of what was popular, but the labels saw this as worthwhile for a number of reasons.

Today, a similar situation exists with the likes of Katherine Jenkins and so on. I know that Andre Rieu is contracted by Universal to produce an album per year.

https://www.classicfm.com/radio/sho...hart/katherine-jenkins-most-classical-albums/

It's always been thus, for example until the generation of Elgar, composers churned out salon music and orchestra pops in part to subsidize their serious efforts which had a smaller market.

It's no use blaming poor taste of Average Joes or plebs who have been a big part of actually funding classical music. Its about harnessing what the industry has to offer for them. Maybe they should even be given a bit of credit by those who are more seriously into classical music?
 

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When I first caught the classical music bug, the idea that I could go to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and see and hear many of the musicians that I was purchasing recordings by was very, very exciting. It was like a brand new world had opened up to me.

So I can't agree that concert halls are out of date or no longer relevant, or viable. Instead, I think they can potentially provide experiences that will be cherished and stay with a person for the rest of their lives....
I have no doubt that the concert hall can provide cherishable experiences, but it's typically only for those receptive to the romantic ideal of art solely for its own sake rather than a shared social experience. I don't think the traditional classical concert hall experience can be regarded as "social" in any sense - it's highly individual and was designed that way.

However, if concert halls today are partly failing to provide those kinds of treasurable experiences, then it's not the concert halls that are the problem, but rather the decline of the musical culture. Which again, brings me back to providing a better elementary school music education for kids. That's a key, IMO--to teach children the rudiments and fundamentals of music (which will support all music).
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "the decline of musical culture," but I'll assume you're talking about the decline of music literacy. And this is a very real thing: it's fair to say that a postliterate age is upon us. I've posted about the sonic flux before, and since that's relevant to this discussion I'll shamelessly quote myself:

Before Edison [and the phonograph], sound was "bound to presence," to what was occurring here and now. Audio recording, however, overturned the usual logic of time/space by allowing the "here" to be transported elsewhere; the sounds of Antarctic seals, for example, could be heard in a car while traveling on a Norwegian freeway.... This is because audio recordings elude the present moment - they are "always at once past and to come, registering bygone sonic moments and casting them into an indefinite future that is never exhausted by playback in the present" (ibid.).... After Schaeffer's "noise studies" of the late '40s, recorded sound became a prominent tool for creation and composition.... The musical object was transformed into fluid, open-ended auditory material, and the boundaries between "composer," "performer," and "recording engineer" became increasingly blurred. Hip-hop recognizes this blur by calling anyone who alters the sonic flux a "producer".... In the Western art music... tradition, jazz's golden age and the availability of magnetic tape subjected the classical score to deconstruction and dissolution; indeterminate compositions and graphic scores dismantled the musical object's fixity and encouraged real-time invention....

To summarize, the second half of the 20th century saw audio recording dismantle the classical score, initiate the practices of sampling, mixing, and remixing, and reevaluate improvisation. In the 21st century, mp3s and the easy copyability of digital data "deals the final blow in the assault of recorded media on the original" (ibid., 73).
Christoph Cox, the philosopher I'm citing above, summarizes things elegantly: "A score might allow a group of living musicians to produce a new performance of The Rite of Spring; a recording allows us to hear the dead Stravinsky himself.... It captures sound itself in an exchangeable container, thus perfecting the reification and commodification of music made possible by the written score" (2018, 55). This underlined sentence has huge implications, the chief one being that the 'musical object' can now be actualized even by those who lack musical literacy. While the score provides only a blueprint that allows skilled musicians to realize a musical work, audio recordings only require a machine, thus short-circuiting the score's literate culture. It's common now to be able to create, "perform," and preserve music recognizably in the classical music tradition without ever using notation. For example, Iannis Xenakis developed UPIC, a computerized system allowing graphic figures to be rendered as electronic sound; even a non-composer could produce music by drawing, thus forgoing both the graphical and literacy limitations of conventional musical notation. Now there's a ton of apps out there that do similar things.

Eventually, I suspect that reading music will become a specialized skill, of practical value only for reproducing traditionally notated works. The cultural prestige of "literate" musical genres has sunken as a result of music literacy's marginalization: especially in America, very few children now learn musical notation as part of their general education. It took until the '80s and '90s for educators to question the implicit and explicit assumption of classical music's superiority in schooling; this rise was fueled by a myriad of factors, including technological developments, globalization, localization, the effects of decolonization, demographic changes, gender/race relations, and the expansion of the music industry. Even when popular music was taught, however, it was usually approached in ways that implicitly rendered it inferior to classical music. This has begun to change with the widespread incorporation of "informal music learning practices" such as a higher amount of student choice in what music is learnt, more emphasis on aural learning methods (including the copying of recordings), and more self-directed learning/group work. There are signs that these practices have led to increased motivation and wider, more diverse opportunities for children from different class/cultural backgrounds to succeed in music.

So to come back to your last sentence, where you stress the importance of teaching children "the rudiments and fundamentals of music (which will support all music)." I think that's already being done, just that the rudiments/fundamentals simply don't lie entirely in musical literacy anymore. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
 

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Well the fact of the matter is: it already have been. Like most music, with the advent of digital media, and now streaming services - classical music is as free and open as ever. Anyone who has internet and a bit of time, has everything to explore right at hand. The main thing that keeps it from them, however, are the social implications. The implication that it's all boring, all the same, all snobbish, &c, &c, &c. Those are now, generally, the main things that keep many away. The fundamental issue has always been the same: classical music was never meant for the masses in the way we see it today. The mass commodification of it, is something that the industry has yet to fully adapt to, in the same sense as pop music and it's own artists. Labels have begun to try in the last decade, but the fruits of their labour are still rather ambiguous.
 

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The main thing that keeps it from them, however, are the social implications. The implication that it's all boring, all the same, all snobbish, &c, &c, &c. Those are now, generally, the main things that keep many away.
There's also the fact that the public education system has largely abandoned any semblance of education about music.
 

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Well the fact of the matter is: it already have been. Like most music, with the advent of digital media, and now streaming services - classical music is as free and open as ever. Anyone who has internet and a bit of time, has everything to explore right at hand. The main thing that keeps it from them, however, are the social implications. The implication that it's all boring, all the same, all snobbish, &c, &c, &c. Those are now, generally, the main things that keep many away. The fundamental issue has always been the same: classical music was never meant for the masses in the way we see it today. The mass commodification of it, is something that the industry has yet to fully adapt to, in the same sense as pop music and it's own artists. Labels have begun to try in the last decade, but the fruits of their labour are still rather ambiguous.
I agree. Classical and opera currently ranks as the no. 10 format in the US, which is pretty good for music that, as you say, was never meant for the masses. One thing that has hurt CM since circa the 1970s is the presumption in the music industry that 12-21 year-olds cannot be made to take an interest in it. CM today is largely marketed as 'relaxing' music for business and professional people age 35+ who (supposedly) need relaxing music after a long, hard day at work.

That is why I so enjoy the youtube channel TwoSetViolin, hosted by two young professional classical violinists who mainly target that 12-21 year old demographic. They currently have over 3 million subscribers and did two successful world concert tours pre-Covid. They do it in large part by successfully making CM coexist with the pop culture of today's young people and frequently addressing the concerns and issues of adolescence, while keeping the mood light and humorous, and never over-serious or condescending.

I do wonder if they will continue to relate to their young audience as well once they pass the age of 30, but for now, they are doing a wonderful job of helping to secure the future of CM with a new generation.
 

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But there's still hope: in Japan, S Korea, Taiwan, China and other parts of the Orient, classical music is highly valued and sought out.
Sadly speaking, not really.

As an Orient myself, I guarantee that there is definitely much less classical music listeners in Eastern Asia than in the West. As Westerners (most of you in this forum), you will see people, esp. kids around you are dancing crazily with pop, rock and medal. But that's just because the West has more modern music than Asia which attracts young people. The number of audiences of classical in the West is no doubt greater than the East. Although many Chinese parents force their children to learn an instrument more eagerly than American parents do, they themselves do not understand classical music at all and the incentive for them doing this is just because they see people around them do. I've encountered many Chinese parents who force their children to learn violin and not knowing any of the greatest violinist nor the greatest piece. I guess the situation is the same in many other Eastern Asian regions--especially S Korea which is o(c)v(o)e(r)r(r)d(u)r(p)o(t)w(e)n(d) by their K-Pop. However, admittedly, I think the overal audiences of classical music in Eastern Asia is growing while audiences in the West is decreasing. Scarcely, there are kids who were forced to play an instrument grow interest in it. Also, many Chinese public schools are broadcasting classical music to sutdent every day, though I doubt whether kindergarten and primary school kids will understand a speck of it. That is a good sign anyway. Therfore, I can't say classical music is more prosperous in the East now, but it might be in the future. Who knows? Maybe C-Pop or J-Pop will become as popular as K-Pop and people will start to listen to those instead of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
 

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Maybe include it in ''adult'' movies that have exploded since pandemic...:eek::D
 

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Classical music has never appealed to the man on the street, but it is lamentable that the American education system no longer makes an effort to instill some appreciation for the medium. Furthermore, the spirit of the age is degenerate and thus incompatible with demanding art-forms.
 

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I don't think "bringing classical music to the Average Joe" is a good idea. First starters, and I don't want to sound like I'm somehow above others, but a person needs to have an understanding that the amount of time you put into understanding the music, the more you'll be rewarded in the end. From my experience with a lot of different kinds of listeners is they want instant gratification. Like if it doesn't excite them at the very start and leave them excited until the end of the piece, then, somehow, it's not going to be worth their precious time. But if someone is passionate enough about this music and persistent, then great things can happen and they will happen, because you put in the time and made the effort. Of course, finding the composers you like can be daunting, but this is all a part of the dance.
 

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After many attempts by myself and other classical music lovers around me, I can just say, you can bring classical music to those who might like it but just temporarily distracted by pop music and sometimes that is successful and rewarding; however, it is impossible to bring classical to most people who are determined not to be a fan of it. Sadly, the latter kind of people is the absolute majority.
 

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I applaud anyone who has a passion for music. I don't care if it's Classical or Rap, or Musical Theater, or Pop, or Goth Metal - whatever. I love hearing from people about the kind of music that they enjoy, especially if it is a kind of music I've never listened to.

I am not out to convert anyone to my taste in music. Quite to the contrary, I welcome interaction with those people whose taste is diametrically opposite to my own. I want to expand my listening horizons.

So regarding the OP's question: How do we bring back Classical Music for the Average Joe?

My answer is how do we bring ourselves to enjoy the music the Average Joe listens to?
 

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After many attempts by myself and other classical music lovers around me, I can just say, you can bring classical music to those who might like it but just temporarily distracted by pop music and sometimes that is successful and rewarding; however, it is impossible to bring classical to most people who are determined not to be a fan of it. Sadly, the latter kind of people is the absolute majority.
Perhaps interest would grow if young people were taught that their K-pop uses the same affective intervals to evoke responses and emotions as those of CM. There's just more to it. And it's waiting if they want to study it.
 

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I applaud anyone who has a passion for music. I don't care if it's Classical or Rap, or Musical Theater, or Pop, or Goth Metal - whatever. I love hearing from people about the kind of music that they enjoy, especially if it is a kind of music I've never listened to.

I am not out to convert anyone to my taste in music. Quite to the contrary, I welcome interaction with those people whose taste is diametrically opposite to my own. I want to expand my listening horizons.

So regarding the OP's question: How do we bring back Classical Music for the Average Joe?

My answer is how do we bring ourselves to enjoy the music the Average Joe listens to?
Th last thing I want to be told is that what I am listening to is a waste of time.

And I have no problem with people who listen to music that I may dislike.
 

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My answer is how do we bring ourselves to enjoy the music the Average Joe listens to?
That's completely unreasonable. Many people hold the opinion that Classical Music isn't superior (or whatever word they use) than other music, and that is obviously not the case. Classical Music, no matter in terms of complexity, meaning, history or artistic accomplishments, are far superior than modern music. Modern music is only better at attracting people's attention, and that apparently does not equal to the music itself being good. I know it is a dismay, but you have to accept the truth that there are divisions between social classes and most people don't innately want to be an Average Joe, no matter who they are and what their goal for life is. In the world of music such a class division also exists, and Classical Music is obviously at higher positions. I am not saying that people who don't listen to Classical Music are inferior, no; but if you just concern music, then modern music is surely not as good as Classical.

I've also noticed that many people today don't like to judge. They tend to not point out bad things about other and try to see things in the "respectful" way but that is absolutely wrong. How can you be a non-judgemental person? You have to recognize wrong or bad things. But many people just don't and they call this being respectful. Plus, I even doubt many of those people actually do judge, but they just hide their judgement for some other purposes, and this is actually the most common case instead.

So, how do we bring ourselves to enjoy the music the Average Joe listen to? Making the Average Joe love better music is the priority, then let's love good music together.
 

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Galdly to say, although there is an increasing number of Pop music audiences among young people today, young Classical lovers are more dedicated to Classical. As I know many of them aren't quite interested in other genres and believe Classical to be the right choice.
 

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I'm a relative newcomer to classical music, though I'd been curious about it for years prior. Though I'm not quite the "average joe" -- for one my music tastes have skewed alternative/weird/art-house since forever.

Anyway, I think the gateway is twofold:

soft entry: listening to your local classical station while driving. This was a random and impactful first step for me. with 400-500 years of music and a dizzying array of recordings (generally all "covers" as the original artists are long dead), it's so much easier to be handed a curated DJ experience.

hard entry: See/hear it live. Recordings of classical have a hard time competing against music that was designed to be recorded (most of the stuff post-Beatles). Conversely, all this studio-made music really has a hard time competing with stuff that was intended for live/acoustic performance. Put out those cheap tickets for young people please!

This point is somewhat particular to me. A non-opera/classical buddy randomly suggested we check out this Philip Glass opera that was playing locally. Neither of us knew anything about anything, except how to get to drive to the opera house. Nor were we even big musical theater fans, but we liked both knew and liked Glass for his cinema work. We had no idea Glass had made operas! So I thought: eh, if the theatrical stuff stinks at least I can close my eyes and hear Glass played live.
Well, Satyagraha was an absolute revelation to me. Mindblowing -- still among the greatest staged perfomances of any kind I've ever seen (take that Hamilton!). And I've been hooked ever since and have fortunately found other young friends (20s/30s) who also have been going to the opera but NEVER mentioned it until I became that guy who wouldn't stop raving about opera. haha. So now we go as a gang to our local shows.

Not that Glass is a "good first opera". But it was perfect for me. And now I'm here on TC :lol:
 

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Galdly to say, although there is an increasing number of Pop music audiences among young people today, young Classical lovers are more dedicated to Classical. As I know many of them aren't quite interested in other genres and believe Classical to be the right choice.
Narrow-mindedness is not an admirable quality.
 

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Average people are good people. Classical music already captured average people which we are. If only geniuses can understand and appreciate then it is not art.
 
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