Musicians now must also serve as warriors for peace on the battlefronts, by taking classical music into places its never gone before, not as a last stand, but rather to feed classical, dripping with our enthusiasm, into the soft vacuum of existing curiosity. The occasion then becomes a premiere of sorts, of this fabulous music, to cleanse the masses, even if as background. Music feeds the hungry, heals existential pain, waters the seeds of understanding and self-reflection, and can reverse social disconnection. Traditional concerts can remain special, exceptional, highbrow occasions; as long as our institutions also offer compelling alternatives of playful and meaningful access to the broadest public.
Sure, everyone hears 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; with events that reset the context for classical music both inside and outside of the arts?
Considering these perceived barriers, drawing new fans to concerts might seem a fool’s errand. We love that music can comfort, move and inspire us. And now music is everywhere. It’s familiar, interactive and playful. It’s loaded with social references, strong beat and personality. Pop music’s easiness titillates the masses, who experience singing and dancing as catharsis.
- 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 limited to working with silence?