CutTime connects communities with symphonic music so they can sustain each other.
The classical music industry is slow to design new user experiences (UX) that attract, serve and give voice to those who generally avoid the fine arts. Now that the Arts are finally defined more broadly, many are curious to take another pass at classical arts. And yet, major institutional roadblocks remain for the industry to define and work past, to strike a dynamic balance with average citizens.
Potential new fans are saying:
1) Few of us took classical instruments in school, and our parents had no interest either.
2) We don’t know anything about it and don’t have time: we’d need a really cool guide.
3) Neither concerts nor internet videos give entertaining personality, context or advice.
4) Classical concerts tend to be dry, distant, long and enigmatic. We can’t you do it in clubs?
5) We prefer songs, rap & dance because drums & singing are dramatic & complex enough for me.
6) If we can’t join in somehow, I’d rather talk with my friends while enjoying it. Where’s the place for that?
7) Without a rocker’s passion, classical concerts can feel confusing, dull, stupid or surreal to me.
8) My friends and I prefer new music, but anything well-played is welcome. Bring us your cream.
9) Classical doesn’t market broadly; like you really don’t want us as-we-are. We may need our own concerts and people to teach us how to make our own party with classical music.
Let’s celebrate our good fortune to have so many choices in music. Is this not what our parents wanted for us? And yet, if people can’t be sure they can come dressed as-they-are, as in most other music events, whole communities today feel dis-invited (staring, faces, comments) by ushers and audience for wearing jeans and t-shirts at classical events. Let’s enlarge our base and make everyone feel welcome at concerts. Our audiences stand on one frontline of audience development.
Now musicians need to serve on the battlefronts by taking classical music into restaurant and club settings, not as a last stand, but to feed the hungry; to tend to spiritual pain in its unique way; to water seeds for understanding and self-reflection; and to balance an aesthetic devoid of common outlets. Concerts can remain special, exceptional even highbrow occasions, if we will offer compelling alternatives.
Sure, everyone learns classical moments from movies, TV, Christmas & July 4. If the average American doesn’t know why or how to go beyond rubbing the surface of instrumental music, at the end of the day nor do they have any opportunities to try.
If classical music institutions, while needing a flood of new ticket-buyers, donors and goodwill, don’t know why or how to create real opportunities to expose & answer the unasked questions that keep potential new fans in avoidance mode, will we the musicians rally with effective culture-bridging, meaningful events that reset the context for classical music both inside and outside of the arts bubble?
Considering these perceived barriers, drawing new fans to concerts might seem a fool’s errand. We all hunger for good music to comfort, move and inspire us. And yet good music is everywhere today; esp. music that is familiar, interactive and loaded with social context, a strong beat and personality. Pop music’s lightness inspires the masses, who feel singing and dancing along is cathartic. So who needs classical music’s heaviness? Who, and what, is classical music really good for? And if it’s so good, why is it confined to silence?
Some Industry Answers
The extra effort needed to make classical music accessible is hardest only at first.
CutTime developed practical solutions to the issues raised above, extending the art form with an audience-centric theory of mind, cutting loose the academia to open hearts to peeking inside the arts bubble. We want anyone willing to discover themselves reflected in the instrumental dramas so that outsiders can become marginal insiders. We want orchestras in turn to discover the salvation of the broader public’s culture. This work is not yet popular; but it is very necessary.
CutTime is dedicated to providing the curious a taste-fest of classical music, having teased out what people tend to be hungry for: personality, humor, hope, animation, participation, new context, closure, discovery, knowledge, experiences, spirit, purpose, etc.. CutTime is a progressive pathway for an evolutionary classical art form, a revival of classical Humanities. CutTime reconciles burning questions about the world, classical music, its past, composers and etiquette, to leap at practical answers, ensembles, music and activities that can make classical ideas powerful mirrors for all of us into the future.
Our work and mission responds to research by the Irvine Foundation, Knight Foundation, Mellon Foundation, the League of American Orchestras, the Wallace Foundation, WolfBrown and systems theorist Fritjof Capra. What key concepts, analogies, music and methods immediately bring a broader public into the center of sonatas, and helps the classical music industry grow resilient given new economic realities?
Following WWII, European-style orchestras in American cities began a golden age with European immigrants flooding orchestras & concert seats with experienced practitioners. Then in the late-50s the Ford Foundation began investing heavily to advance the classical arts’ major institutions and encourage European-style civic societies. In recent decades however, these ideas have been challenged, and are only now fishing for a certain future.
CutTime hits the reset button on classical to extend developed music to places and people both inside and outside the arts bubble, starting with two ensembles of 4-8 musicians featuring lively symphonic covers and sexy, Detroit-inspired originals that anchor the casual club classical series Classical Revolution Detroit. Connections start by sacrificing the demands for a silent audience and well-rehearsed playing. *Fortunately, many classical music like to party with chamber music. But CutTime makes classical click for the first-timer with insightful analogies, the briefest historic context and meaningful audience participation. CutTime performs the broadest range of events from relaxed community open jams (sight reading) in clubs, restaurants and homes to polished concerts onstage in churches and schools. CutTime pops up where communities gather, joining local leaders and artists.
By demystifying classical where people discover other music, and by relaxing control to listen and be open to others, CutTime validates the community to then validate traditional concerts (pure). An urban public fully deserves access to its own legacy as humans (public domain). Embracing the paradoxes of all living things, CutTime flips around the coin of understanding to embrace raw expression with the refined, and vice versa. The past dances with the present on the way to a future the present can’t see. The classical arts are living practices that inspire a billion today, and will inspire yet billions more with some adaptations. America deserves to take a ride on symphonic music.
CutTime chooses to connect, discover, inspire and honor our common humanity through this special music.
CutTime means FUN; where innovation is often forged.