Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

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jserraglio
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Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by jserraglio » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:59 am

A new poll suggests 82% of the British public believe that the classical music industry needs to make changes in order to have a future. http://www.classical-music.com/news/cla ... -says-poll

The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham asked over 2,000 adults what they thought were barriers to accessing classical music.

Young people were far more likely to say that the traditional formats of classical concerts needed to change, and that the genre needed to be more ethnically diverse and less elitist. In contrast, over 55s called for better music education, with some objecting to the ‘dumbing down’ of classical concerts.

Almost half of those surveyed agreed that more young children need to be inspired to learn a classical instrument, and given the chance to experience performing music. 40% of those surveyed also believed that the ‘stuffy concert hall’ was partly to blame, and thought that one solution could be to perform in more everyday places like shopping malls and parks.

Though these results don’t spell out great news for the current classical music industry, Richard Hawley (head of programming at Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham) believes there is a silver lining.

‘Far from being a mainstream nonentity, people do really seem to care about classical music having a future,’ he said. ‘There are changes that need to be made, and we believe now is the time to take risks and be brave.’

The results:

More young children need to be inspired to learn an instrument and experience playing music 47%

Concerts should be performed outside stuffy halls in everyday places (e.g. parks, malls, clubs) 40%

Music should feature more prominently in the school curriculum 39%

The big concerts always seem to take place in London, and not outside London 35%

The elitist language and traditions that make classical music appear aloof need to end 33%

Venues need to work harder to get more young people going to a concert 32%

Classical music needs to have greater appeal to a multi-cultural society / ethnic minorities 20%

Music by contemporary composers is often pretentious, tuneless, and unenjoyable 20%

Orchestras need to stop wearing dinner dress from a bygone age 17%

Orchestras and artists need to be more active on social media 15%

Classical music is too often dumbed down (e.g. Doctor Who Prom) 11%

Don't know 11%

Not applicable - There are no challenges to classical music being relevant or having a future 7%

Other 4%


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,023 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th-20th July 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

maestrob
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by maestrob » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:27 pm

Funny thing: people complain about the future of classical music, yet are unwilling to invest in it by supporting school music programs with their tax money. Frankly, I just put it down to lack of interest in the younger generation. Growing up, as a classical music fan, I was on the panel for a competition called "Hi-Q" sponsored by Scott Paper, and all the questions about music were directed to yours truly. Also, I was invited by several teachers to bring in LPs of classical music, including Mahler X, Ives IV, and the opera Boris Godunov, among others. This was in an era and a culture that generally respected classical music as a great art form.

This is no longer the case here in America. Nowadays, parents pay extra for sports and music programs, and my niece and nephew who went to public school were just never exposed to classical music and thus never developed an interest. My California nephew, who is a talented French hornist, had to discover music on his own by having his parents pay extra fees for him to participate in the school orchestra.

It's no wonder classical music has fallen away in the U. S. Why can't we have programs like Venezuela's "El Sistema?" Because there's simply no interest in that sort of thing in our culture, where things European are no longer appreciated by the majority of younger people.

OK, I'll stop now. :roll:

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:37 pm

Let's face it: Classical music is an elitist pursuit. Always has been, and always will be. At the top of these results is the need to expose more kids to music through traditional band/choral programs so that we can have that elite. The two states where I have lived in and taught (not music primarily), New York and Maryland, still do a pretty good job of that. Kids love performing. It is not necessary to force anything down their throat. It is only necessary to create the conditions where those who will grow up to understand the difference between Beethoven and Roll Over Beethoven have that opportunity.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:52 pm

The huge crowds which turn out to the "Last Night of the Proms" in the UK are staggering. And the audiences themselves in the Albert Hall are stacked to the rafters for much of the Prom season. I would say the death of 'classical music' has been highly exaggerated and I place no credibility in surveys which suggest concerts should take place in clubs or shopping malls. :roll:

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:33 am

You make some very good points! In my travels across the globe, I have found that classical music in the US and interest in it in the USA has slipped, some of this no doubt due to economic conditions. Canada, on the other hand, I have always found to show much greater interest in classical music as I also discovered in England and Europe. Performing classical music in malls I don't think is the answer to building new audiences. When I have seen that done a few times, people stop, listen (for a moment or two) and go on their travels to walk the malls. Depending on the "club," and the kind it is, and I'm not referring to night clubs [!] that might be a tad better. I do believe, however, the musical education in grade- through high schools has also slipped exponentially. If schools make cuts, it is the music programs, NOT the sports offerings. Our baseball stadium here is packed to the rafters for every game. Philharmonic concerts, opera, recitals, etc., on a local basis have changed dramatically over the past 25 years, and especially so in the last decade. Some of our greatest performing artists of classical music came from backgrounds that did not include much (if any) classical music in their lives. Pianists such as Earl Wild and others immediately come to mind, so how did "they" get their inspiration to delve into the classical music field? Probably by attending concerts that schools sponsored. Many times I saw the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under William Steinberg, and other ensembles while growing up in middle- and high school. Our local opera company, which has been around here since 1949 has gone through struggles, but they are very well attended when such things as Philip Glass's opera Hydrogen Jukebox were given several performances. Mostly young people attended this (i.e., NON-gray-haired heads). The older attendees were not overly impressed despite excellent performances by the cast. Like Brian (maestrob), I now conclude! :roll:
Belle wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:52 pm
The huge crowds which turn out to the "Last Night of the Proms" in the UK are staggering. And the audiences themselves in the Albert Hall are stacked to the rafters for much of the Prom season. I would say the death of 'classical music' has been highly exaggerated and I place no credibility in surveys which suggest concerts should take place in clubs or shopping malls. :roll:
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karlhenning
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by karlhenning » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:04 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:52 pm
The huge crowds which turn out to the "Last Night of the Proms" in the UK are staggering. And the audiences themselves in the Albert Hall are stacked to the rafters for much of the Prom season. I would say the death of 'classical music' has been highly exaggerated and I place no credibility in surveys which suggest concerts should take place in clubs or shopping malls. :roll:
I dunno. That argument seems to me not a great distance from saying, Classical music isn't dead—look at all the people who went to hear Bonnie Raitt sing with the Boston Pops!

Cheers,
~k.
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
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Belle
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:52 pm

Thanks for those comments, Lance! :D

Recently I watched on U-tube some of those Leonard Bernstein educational broadcasts from the 1950s with the NYPO. I was enchanted by the huge numbers of children and young people and how extremely well-behaved they were!! And one particular program was about Paul Hindemith and 'Mathis der Maler'. Rather an esoteric work and composer for that demographic but they seemed engaged and listening. It was all in the presentation!!!! At my own local level - a world away from the Bernstein experience - I've found that you can engage people with difficult or unfamiliar music with the right presentation and approach. Consequently, I now have a couple of new Purcell enthusiasts as a result of my last presentation. Many came up to me afterwards and said how much they loved what I did!! Last Thursday one woman brought her DVD of William Christie's performance of "Dido and Aeneas" because she wanted me to comment on it. Ergo, we have a consistent, engaged audience for all our programs year by year.

Excellent teaching, mentoring and encouragement is the key to all this; not some survey about venues and whether or not musicians should wear formal livery. I've always found that 'argument' to be a red herring and incredibly shallow.

Our music appreciation group often invites young musicians to speak about their work. Last Thursday we had a beautiful, talented and exuberant female in her early 20's; a violinist who had studied in a little music school at the top of Sweden for 12 months on an exchange program. There she learned about the rich history of folk singing and choral music of that culture and demonstrated through recordings and her own singing many of the techniques. This young woman is in her final year of Bachelor of Music (violin) and wants to be a conductor as a consequence of her year in Sweden. The first thing which affected me was her passion and enthusiasm and she and my friend and co-convener played some Swedish folk songs arranged for piano and violin. She also runs two choirs herself in our area. Imagine how she could inspire young people, yet the drudge of being a high-school music teacher in modern Australia is not for her!!

We also had a fabulous organist (age 38) at our group recently; he has played internationally and at Nostre Dame, Paris. He presented a program to our group on 19th century French organ music, particularly Franck, and discussed the great organ maker of the period, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Our guest presenter is organist at our (Anglican) Christ Church Cathedral and also choirmaster. He's a fabulous musician and a great speaker who's also doing excellent work in the community with concerts and workshops. Next week we have three young women who play baroque and modern flutes in a discussion and demonstration about HIP and the modern flute. They are final-year students at our local conservatorium.

All these active and passionate young people tell me that there's still a love of art music and its rigorous demands in the younger generation, and an enthusiastic willingness to impart that passion to other people through lectures and active community engagement. In short, and as an academic once said to me, 'if you're going to eat an elephant you can't do it all at once"!!

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:49 pm

My distinct pleasure! And your quote below ... EXCELLENT and exceedingly fitting!
Belle wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:52 pm
Thanks for those comments, Lance! :D

In short, and as an academic once said to me, 'if you're going to eat an elephant you can't do it all at once"!!
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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John F
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by John F » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:43 pm

Any such poll or discussion which ignores the role of sound recordings is worthless. Many people, me included, came to love classical music by listening to records, which can be played anywhere at any time as often as you like, dressed (or undressed) as you like. And after all, most classical music other than opera is not visual at all, what you see in the concert hall is merely incidental to what you hear. Attending live performances in person can come later, and it need not come at all.
John Francis

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:24 pm

John F wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:43 pm
Any such poll or discussion which ignores the role of sound recordings is worthless. Many people, me included, came to love classical music by listening to records, which can be played anywhere at any time as often as you like, dressed (or undressed) as you like. And after all, most classical music other than opera is not visual at all, what you see in the concert hall is merely incidental to what you hear. Attending live performances in person can come later, and it need not come at all.
You have of course made a new turn in this thread, with which I do not necessarily disagree, but which I would comment on if I had a couple of hours to draft a reply. For now, I will limit myself to expressing my enjoyment at imagining you listening to recordings unclothed. :mrgreen:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:12 pm

If visiting concerts halls for live performances "need not come at all" then I don't see much future for recorded music since those orchestras cannot be maintained simply for the occasional recording contract.

John F
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by John F » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:47 am

The future of classical recording has long looked bleak, as the major labels are no longer making many new records of mainstream repertoire with top-line orchestras, conductors, and ensembles (such as they are nowadays). But with so many outstanding older recordings already on the market, easily available and often at low prices, there's no reason why people shouldn't listen to Beethoven's 5th or whatever in their homes, or anywhere else via their iPods. That's not the problem.
John Francis

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:56 am

Nothing can replace live performances, in my opinion. This occurred to me when I lived in Vienna and saw and heard the world's greatest orchestras and artists. That's when I realized that recorded music is always second best!!

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by John F » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:10 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:56 am
Nothing can replace live performances, in my opinion.
When live performances are not available, as in Lancaster PA where I grew up, or when they don't appeal, as the article that started this thread maintains, recordings are a fine replacement - not just better than nothing, often better than what you can hear in a concert hall near you, even if it's in Vienna. Offered the choice of hearing Beethoven's 5th conducted by anybody live and the recording by Carlos Kleiber, which would you say is better? I rest my case.
John Francis

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by maestrob » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:53 pm

The most enjoyment of music is by attending a live performance with great musicians led by a great conductor. Sadly, we haven't got Kleiber to listen to, but the greatest musical experiences in my lifetime have been those few concerts led by great conductors where everything just gelled (a Berlioz Requiem led by Dutoit here in NY comes to mind, or Bernstein leading the Chicago Symphony in Shostakovich VII). No recording can match the experience of having the music pass through you on it's way to the rest of the audience with whom one shares this great experience.

Recordings, however finely done, only serve as preparation to the live experience. I believe they heighten one's expectations, and when well done they satisfy to a degree.

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by John F » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:36 pm

That may be the most enjoyment for you, but as the story at the head of this thread (and many others) make abundantly clear, many don't enjoy it at all, among them younger people on whom the future of live performances depends. That's the issue we're supposedly discussing here, and we have to step beyond our personal preferences and see things as they are.
John Francis

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:57 pm

maestrob wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:53 pm
The most enjoyment of music is by attending a live performance with great musicians led by a great conductor. Sadly, we haven't got Kleiber to listen to, but the greatest musical experiences in my lifetime have been those few concerts led by great conductors where everything just gelled (a Berlioz Requiem led by Dutoit here in NY comes to mind, or Bernstein leading the Chicago Symphony in Shostakovich VII). No recording can match the experience of having the music pass through you on it's way to the rest of the audience with whom one shares this great experience.

Recordings, however finely done, only serve as preparation to the live experience. I believe they heighten one's expectations, and when well done they satisfy to a degree.
I quite agree; beautifully expressed! For the rest of my life I'll never forget the frisson of being in the Musikverein et. al in Vienna with the most superb orchestras, conductors and musicians then available (2011). It's a visual as well as aural experience and you can see how hard the musicians themselves are working!! Not all performances will be pleasing, as in Muti's Beethoven symphonies where his tempi were all over the place, but it was a thrill to see him and hear great orchestral playing. Also there's the buzz of the other audience members; in this case, the Viennese people and they proved informed and interesting when I had the opportunity to speak to some of them. Chamber performances and instrumental recitals were equally appealing. And to walk out of those venues and hear the Viennese talking about it...well, it was wunderbah!!!

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by IcedNote » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:08 pm

The future of classical music will be fine'n'dandy until uber-wealthy old people stop giving millions and millions of dollars to our orchestras, opera companies, etc. THEY are the ones who truly matter. Think a problem for your local orchestra is that it can't sell enough tickets? Pffft....insignificant pittance compared to the trauma of losing a major donor. So as long as classical music remains an elitist pursuit (I agree with John B here), and as long as the elitists have the wealth (duh), then classical music will be AOK.

-G

PS. The longlonglong-term effect of the downfall of music education is a major worry, but I won't get into that here.
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by IcedNote » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:09 pm

Also, for what it's worth, I worked at Oakland Symphony when we did a *very* similar survey, and our results were virtually identical to those listed above.

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Lance » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:16 pm

John Francis makes some excellent points. In listening to recordings of the world's finest instrumentalists, singers, orchestras and chamber ensembles, we "condition" our ears as to what "outstanding" music can sound like in the presence of our own homes, on hopefully excellent sound reproducing equipment. I grew up in a household of musical performers, soprano mother, trumpet/conductor father, singer sister, pianist brother, and then there's me. While it is true, a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for example, is an exquisite experience (or any other major orchestra). In towns equivalent to Lancaster, Pa., which didn't have an orchestra, then we are hearing B and C orchestras. And, face it, most people in the audience who love classical music would be much more opinionated on the quality of the music-making rather than the general public who may or may not study an instrument, or may just be attending an "event" on a local level. I have been to some concerts which have been pretty bad, in order to support, the supposed up-and-coming young artists. I have also attended, especially piano recitals (with my own group, Classical Pianists of the Future), and have heard some amazingly extraordinary performances by young artists whose intent it is to pursue a performance career. An, insofar as recordings are concerned, there is probably more fine music that hasn't been heard in a century or more, and thanks to recordings, the music of Hummel, Kalliwoda, Czerny, Reinecke, and countless others would never come to our ears or brains without recordings. Yes, I'll keep my recordings, thank you!
John F wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:10 am
Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:56 am
Nothing can replace live performances, in my opinion.
When live performances are not available, as in Lancaster PA where I grew up, or when they don't appeal, as the article that started this thread maintains, recordings are a fine replacement - not just better than nothing, often better than what you can hear in a concert hall near you, even if it's in Vienna. Offered the choice of hearing Beethoven's 5th conducted by anybody live and the recording by Carlos Kleiber, which would you say is better? I rest my case.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Belle
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Re: Barriers to accessing classical music — UK Poll

Post by Belle » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:28 pm

When I said that 'recordings are second best' I meant that the bar is EXTREMELY high already! I was at Harnoncourt's last performance in the Musikverein just over 2 years ago (Beethoven #5); that performance was recorded and was released after he died. So, it was moving to be there on that evening and then an added bonus to be able to have a record of it afterwards on CD, should I want it.

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