New Classical Music Book Unravels Mystery of Classical Music to Young Persons
“Classical musical audiences are getting older, and older. If they are not replaced by a new crop of younger listeners that means more empty seats and even less revenue. At the same time, costs to run an orchestra, pay staff and management, and the musicians, aren’t going down. Eventually, there’s a breakpoint. The result could be staff cutbacks, fewer concerts, and in some cases orchestras folding completely. “
Noted classical musicologist Earl Ofari Hutchinson warns against this troubling and controversial concern in the world of classical music in his new book A Young Person's Guide to Classical Music (Middle Passage Press).
Hutchinson says, “One especially gloomy classical music doomsayer went further. The headline of his piece said it all, “It’s Time to Let Classical Music Die.” His gripe was the seeming lack of ethnic diversity within classical music orchestras. He contended that this was a big reason so many young and not so young persons are the disappearing act in classical music.
“Loads of reasons have been given for the apparent absence of young persons from the concert halls. The concerts are too long, too boring, you must sit still interminably long in stone silence. You certainly can’t dance and sing to a symphony. It’s also said concerts are too costly and too robotic,” Hutchinson observes, “The more charitable answer is that young people aren’t regularly exposed to the music. Many public schools have cut back arts programs and instruction, eliminated field trips to concert halls, and invitations to classical musicians to perform at schools. There is some truth to all these explanations for the non-appearance of young people in the classical music concert halls.”
Hutchinson points out that there is no miracle or magic formula to get masses of young people rushing to classical music concerts. Classical music is no different than any other music, rock, pop, Reggae, R&B, Rap, Jazz, country and western, bluegrass, and other musical genres from everywhere else on the planet. It has its rabid fans, rabid detractors, and a significant majority in the middle ground who could care less about the music one way or the other. It's a matter of choice, taste, and to a degree, exposure.
A Young Person's Guide to Classical Music is not an attempt to make new converts to classical music, “he says, “It’s certainly not an attempt to duplicate, let alone match, the kind of passion, expertise, and professionalism other classical music conductors have spurred young persons to listen to and even love classical music back in their day. In any case, there's not an aspect of classical music that hasn't been written about, in more instances than not repeatedly. The books on classical music fill dozens of public and private library and bookstore shelves.
He makes no pretense that A Young Person's Guide to Classical Music is comprehensive, and touches all bases on classical music. His goal was a fast-paced, highly readable basic primer for those young persons interested in classical music or who want to develop an interest in it. It's a layperson's guide to standard musical terms, instruments, selected composers, influential works, and the styles, forms, and structures common to classical music. I present a capsulized history of the different periods in classical music's evolution.
Hutchinson includes many important compositions from different periods of the music's evolution as recommended listening. He tosses in interesting factoids about the best-known composers and their works. I also squeeze in the section "From the Concert Seat" some interesting and amusing tidbits about the composers, the instruments, and their works.
He ends with thoughts on what can spur interest in more young persons in classical music. Hutchinson’s aim is not to proselytize young people on the music. It's to try to make classical music and its components understandable---for those interested. “
From PRLOG (full quote allowed with link):
New Classical Music Book Unravels Mystery of Classical Music to Young Persons. "Classical musical audiences are getting older, and older. If they are not replaced by a new crop of younger listeners that means more empty seats and even less revenue. - PR12914149