What do you love about going to the symphony?

March 17, 2008 at 06:18 PM · It seems to me that symphonies should stop trying to attract people who have little or no interest in classical music, and start honing in on the inherent draw of this kind of experience. What does a symphony lover love about the symphony?

Replies (100)

March 17, 2008 at 06:24 PM · Awesome music?

March 17, 2008 at 06:32 PM · I am not drawn to the symphony. Sorry to say it but true. I'd rather play pool than go to a classical music concert.

I'd rather go to a multi-media experience, like a symphony performing a soundtrack live and show the movie simultaneously. I like lecture concerts as well. Anything... ANYTHING but just sit there, not be addressed as an audience member at all, and listen to music I've heard or played a hundred times.

March 17, 2008 at 06:44 PM · *sigh*

March 17, 2008 at 06:49 PM · I rarely go to the symphony performances here (I'm more of a chamber music person) but when I go I marvel at the color and textures, the pure power and, by contrast, the effect of silence.

March 17, 2008 at 06:41 PM · I get season tickets to both the symphonic and pops series. I am totally wrapped up in and so in the music at the symphonic presentations. The POPS! I can take or leave. I go to POPS! because my extended family likes them.

March 17, 2008 at 07:16 PM · What I love most about attending symphonies and live music, is how enraptured you can become in the experience. Music on your computer, CD player, car radio, etc, is usually background noise while another task is your primary focus. When going to a performance, the music IS the entire focus, giving you the ability to completely immerse yourself.

Also, watching the players perform, and hearing the true acoustics of the instruments, just draws me into the music so much more.

So much magic is lost through video-taping and recording. Can anyone honestly say they enjoy a YouTube clip of a Broadway musical as much as seeing the real performance on Broadway, for example? I can't imagine someone who would rather watch Phantom of the Opera on YouTube rather than see it live!

There's so much more magic in live theatre and symphonies.

So in short, the reason I go is just that: the magic

March 17, 2008 at 07:09 PM · If it's a piece I've heard 100 times before and know I love (symphonies by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms), then I don't need anything but the music. I'll listen to a high school orchestra play those.

But for new or unfamiliar works, I like it when the conductor, composer, or someone else knowledgeable addresses the audience. I like before-concert lectures or, failing that, at least good, detailed program notes. I like learning more about the composers and the circumstances under which they lived and composed. It helps me get mentally out of the concert hall and into a different time and place while I'm listening. I also like concerts with themes--e.g. American composers, or "A Journey through the West," as the community orchestra I play in did in February.

I'm not that interested in celebrity-oriented concerts, where the big draw is an old musical warhorse played or conducted by Someone Very Famous(TM) and the publicity centers around a stylized, airbrushed photo of Someone(TM) giving me a come-hither gaze from behind their instrument or baton. But I feel like I must be in the minority, because that's what a lot of the marketing I see looks like.

March 17, 2008 at 08:01 PM · They shouldn't quit trying to attract normal people ;) but they should do more than that. You go to a typical orchestra website to try to figure out how to figure out what they're playing and when and the whole thing reminds you of something that chipped off of Disneyworld. I'm thinking maybe the orchestra wears Hawaiian shirts except on special nights mentioned in passing behind some special hidden door on the website. Much less who the soloist might be. When you find the soloist it's one of the same dozen soloists, not even a good top 40. Or maybe Wayne Newton impersonator who had a father who was actually talented sing-along night advertised by some flash thing that crashes your computer.

March 17, 2008 at 07:55 PM · I like the formality of classical music concerts. I grew up in a farm town where the cows outnumbered the people 3 to 1 and the smell of manure filled the air. There's just something about dressing up and putting myself in a beautiful concert hall (Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh is where I always think of) with classy people listening to beautiful music. I guess it makes me feel like I'm a part of something greater than myself, that is, something I aspire to be more than just on Saturday nights.

March 17, 2008 at 07:53 PM · I love to hear a great concerto played with an orchestra. As a non-musician myself I am amazed by strength and bravery of soloists and the solo versus orchestra interplay absolutely draws me in. I also love wonderful, full orchestrations (like Stravinsky, Prokofieff, Shostakovich, Tan Dun and some other modern composers). I get very involved in the atmospheric effects. I have a very strong emotional response to music and find that it inspires lofty thoughts. I heard the Cleveland Orchestra play Beethoven last summer and I thought I had glimpsed a better world!

I am not a fan of pops concerts at all, especially those summer outdoor pops concerts where the audience is more involved in the picnic than in listening. I feel that orchestra marketing in the last 20 years or so has tended to make the error of dumbing down music to gain greater public appeal.

I have seen Mozart quartets and unaccompanied Bach partitas and sonatas played to toothless audiences in a local Waffle Houses and the "regulars" were enchanted. Classical music is not only for the upper class, the highly educated or the musically literate; it is for everyone. At our local post office there are two postmen who are avid classical music fans with collections who would rival any of us on V. com. One of the bank tellers at my local bank shows up at chamber concerts regularly, and one of the UPS drivers who delivers to our home is a classical music fan. These are just the few I know of. All of them told me that while they were growing up they enjoyed seeing the NC Symphony when they came to their town. So, more important than accessibility of the programming, is the access the public has to seeing it live.

March 18, 2008 at 12:38 AM · Very good point in the 3rd paragraph. If outreach has a place in this, in other words if you aren't shooting for isolationism, then it's trying to draw people by doing crazy stuff vs. drawing people by doing the best you could be doing. Perhaps in Waffle House. Never happen. J.B.'s mocking the concept in the metro station. Can you imagine him or any of them going to entertain the troops somewhere? Re-think isolationism if that's the thing. What is the value of all this supposed to be? What will we get for our tax money besides some vacuous supposed super-culture? A painting in a museum doesn't have to do anything but look good. Musicians are people, and I think they're required to do more than hang on a wall. Sooo...outreach is required, but the right kind. Social outreach instead of outreach by musical dilution. Why do I go? I just like to hear the sound quality of a professional violin section, really. It tickles my ears.

March 17, 2008 at 10:18 PM · I'm not convinced that there's anything wrong with what orchestras are doing now. If an audience member wants to eat a picnic while watching a concert, or to listen to a program of John Williams movie scores under the stars, or to see a world famous soloist, to hear new music or old favorites, it's all available. No single one of us would necessarily do all of those things, but why should we?

March 17, 2008 at 11:48 PM · So many things! I like seeing all the instruments playing their respective parts. I also like getting introduced to new music that hasn't been recorded yet or that I just haven't heard. Preconcert talks are also insightful and fun. The glamour is also fun...

March 18, 2008 at 02:24 AM · I’m not as a big concert-goer as I used to. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, I attended concerts in Shanghai on weekly basis, thanks to my best friend whose dad was a high official in charge of arts and culture so he got too many performance invitations that he could handle. It was always extremely exciting time for me – to be there and just got lost completely in the music and the atmosphere. The sound of the orchestra tuning and noodling before the concerts was also something I particularly found of, as though I was part of the music-making event.

Going to concerts these days is a big commitment time-wise. My husband and I usually only attend concerts performed by local classical musicians, both for the music and to show support. We’ve got some very good musicians in town who frequently premiere national and international works, such as Pierre Boulez’s Derivé 2. How can we afford to miss that?

Obviously, it’s very different to see musicians in action on stage as opposed to listening to CDs or watching DVDs, and the pre-concert talks can be interesting too.

March 18, 2008 at 01:06 AM · Two favorite recent symphony concerts: the first was the MSO playing a mix of repertoire that I hadn't heard before which included a new concerto for accordion and orchestra which was interesting. It was the perfect blend. But then again I can happily sit through music that I've heard many times, too.

It's really enjoyable going out and seeing nicely dressed people for a start. Women are nice to look at. And everyone generally looks happy at a symphony concert, before the audience goes in, during interval, and after the show.

The second favorite concert I recently saw was on television and was the perfect type of concert imaginable: the Berlin Philharmonic with pianist Lang Lang, in a parkland setting somewhere in or near Berlin with a natural acoustic amphitheatre, amplification no doubt, and people of all ages and types filling the grounds to capacity, people drinking wine or just sitting and listening. Young couples, families, older people. The sun was setting as the concert progressed. It was almost like a major baseball game except it was Tchaikovsky's music and the audience was silent and and happy and listening intently.

I once knew a conductor who was not happy in the audience. He had to be making the music himself to enjoy it. I can appreciate both types of enjoyment: in the audience or on the stage.

I think that symphony concerts that are designed to attract non classical music lovers can be a strain on true believers. There is a lot of extra-musical activity that gets dragged into the picture, like having artists carrying on like rock stars. There should be a warning posted on advertisements for such concerts: this concert has a lot of extranous froth and bubble added to its stage presentation.

March 18, 2008 at 01:07 AM · From jake bush

Posted on March 17, 2008 at 07:16 PM

What I love most about attending symphonies and live music, is how enraptured you can become in the experience. Music on your computer, CD player, car radio, etc, is usually background noise while another task is your primary focus. When going to a performance, the music IS the entire focus, giving you the ability to completely immerse yourself.

Also, watching the players perform, and hearing the true acoustics of the instruments, just draws me into the music so much more.

...

There's so much more magic in live theatre and symphonies.

So in short, the reason I go is just that: the magic

Jake said it better than I could!

Although I would add an odd personal reason for enjoying it so much. In this increasingly casual world, particularly in the high tech area I work in, it's great to be able to dress up and make an occasion of a night out. :)

Neil

March 18, 2008 at 02:19 AM · Laurie Niles wrote: "It seems to me that symphonies should stop trying to attract people who have little or no interest in classical music...."

I think the problem lies in *how* classical music organizations (unsuccessfully) attempt to draw new enthusiasts. There seems to be a great fear of elitism. Every kind of music is portrayed as equal. Years ago, one heard the term "fine music". This referred to music that requires a little expenditure of effort before one may reap its considerable rewards. Most people are unaware of the fact that, if they were willing to make a little effort to familiarize themselves with a Beethoven symphony, they would be richly rewarded.....but not on the first hearing! Now, one dare not use the term "fine music", as it implies that a Mozart Symphony is somehow superior to the latest rock or rap song!

Instead of encouraging people to make the effort, classical music today tries to gain new adherents by marketing itself like pop music. Some classical performers move about on stage as if they were trying to emulate a heavy metal group. Some classical CDs have photos of the performer that would previously have been considered unbefitting to the serious nature of the great music.

As Marty Dalton said in his post, it is fun to make an effort to dress formally, and be amongst performers and audience who went to some trouble to dress formally, and make the occasion special.

In summary, fear of elitism, a cheapening of the value of dignity, the demise of formality, and pop music marketing of classical music are, in my opinion the chief causes for the waning of interest in classical music amongst the general public.

Recently, I was disappointed to hear the director of a string chamber music program say that they invited a pop violinist, to show the kids that violin playing is fun......What message does this send to the students? Playing Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in my High School orchestra was tons of fun for me!

When one talks down to people, when one seeks the lowest common denominator, the ultimate results are bound to be disappointing.

March 18, 2008 at 02:30 AM · Greetings,

>Recently, I was disappointed to hear the director of a string chamber music program say that they invited a pop violinist, to show the kids that violin playing is fun......What message does this send to the students?

Actually its disrespectful. Kids have san innate desire to learn and limitless curiosity as well as joy in having fun. They don`t like being talked down to. This is a recurring problem in many area sof eductaion.

Cheers,

Buri

March 18, 2008 at 02:45 AM · I couldn't disagree more with most statements made in this thread. I do not have a fear of elitism, I despise it. Who cares how musicians enjoy classical music concerts? Are we paying ourselves? Each of us here has a profound relationship to music and each enjoys it equally if differently. The unfortunate truth is that the arts do not depend on themselves to exist. They depend on the patronage of a very few wealthy benefactors who only submit their support with the goal of advancing their own status and network, and only on the condition that the arts will reach out to as many people as possible under any and all ridiculous enticements in order to prolong that financial support.

All the glammed up publicity will not do too much to attract or sustain an audience. There is only one type of effective outreach and that's education, but many musicians I know have not had the training or the support to branch out to music education, much less the will. And so in half-filled halls we shall perform, turning up our noses at people who dare to cough during a "moment" in our concerto. Then we wonder why most people prefer to hear a great soundtrack during a movie than to come see us play.

March 18, 2008 at 03:20 AM · Until I moved to Oregon, I had NEVER attended a symphony. That was, until my teacher gave me tickets to go to the concert. I glammed up, found a "date" and went to the concert, and had a blast. The audience was a mixed bunch, some all glammed up, others in their "street clothes", all intermingled together. After the concert we met some of the other musicians.

For me, it was the personal nature that I enjoyed the most. Seeing people up on stage who I knew, and meeting new people afterwards.

March 18, 2008 at 06:13 AM · Marina,

Most what you said about arts make good sense to me, but I’ve never quite understood why elitism is such an evil thing. If we classify people according to their classes and treat them accordingly as some parts of the world are apparently still doing, then I can understand why it’s so morally repulsive to those of us living in a democratic free society. But if l say, everything else being equal, those who with outstanding abilities or have expertise on certain matter ought to be taken the more seriously or their views carry more weight than others, is this elitism? Or, if we say something,such as certain classical music, is definitely more refined or sophisticated than others, is this elitism? If so, why? Does certain musician’s inability to educate the mass constitute elitism? If we fear or despise elitism, do we know what exactly we are fearing or despising? As usual, I’m confused.

March 18, 2008 at 06:51 AM · Greetings,

I think the confusion stems from the word `elitism.` The human race has the capacity to create across the spectrum from vile evilness, through self destructive junk to works of depth and majesty that express the complexity of the human condition. Dumb down the latter, no matter how well intentioned in the short term and we simply make the world a poorer place for everyone. We haven`r got much time left on the planetr anyway so we might as well keep some standards up chaps. Jolly good, pip pip,

Buri

March 18, 2008 at 08:40 AM · I listen to recordings all the time, but they pale in comparison to a live concert. Listening to a live concert and connecting with the music and the musicians is a big high.

March 18, 2008 at 09:05 AM · I have quite a varied interest in concerts, and what I get out of them.

Often, I like to respect the tradition. I'll get my suit out, get there early, watch the musicians come on. I love the relationships - meeting people there that I didn't know were there, seeing who I know that's playing in the orchestra, wondering why a regular player is missing. Because I've had the chance to meet many of the musicians in the orchestra, I've had the chance to build up the relationships, so seeing them at the concert hall is very important to me.

As for the music they play, I like Violin Concertos, and major symphonies, preferably with a less performed work, so that I'm constantly shown new stuff.

March 18, 2008 at 11:30 AM · This link points to an interesting article that has bearing on the subject.

March 18, 2008 at 12:39 PM · I like to hear people cough:)

March 18, 2008 at 12:53 PM · i go for my kids, but most shows start rather late, some as late as 8 pm. my kids fall asleep shortly after that. no fun:)

March 18, 2008 at 01:03 PM · I believe elitism is self-destructive in the case of classical music. Clearly not everyone indulges us in our little fishbowl musical life or classical CD sales wouldn't be less than 2% of all CD sales, and every concert would be sold out like a Bob Dylan concert. I think it's safe to argue that classical music is complex in architecture and rich in history. But is it above any other kind of music? Does it have a more important history than American folk music? Is it more harmonically complex than arabic music? Is it more culturally significant than byzantine chant?

I think classical musicians are so elitist that they scoff at each other. I'm the only one that I know that was pleased when Sting released an album of John Dowland songs... everyone else thought "oh he's not classically trained." We are so prejudiced that in an orchestra we are led to believe that we are better than the person sitting behind us. I could continue but the point is that we don't know the hand that feeds us, and in general classical music is not the most welcoming institution to the general public and that is to our detriment.

March 18, 2008 at 01:41 PM · I wrote a response that got too long, so I turned it into a blog entry.

March 18, 2008 at 01:33 PM · Marina, Could we infer then that an amateur orchestra is as good as a professional orchestra? Are the musicians who can play all the repertory just elitists snobs? Why not recruit orchestras from the graduates of Suzuki Book 6?

I hate to say it but the orchestra represents something that our PC world doesn't get. Orchestras are meritocracies. If you play well enough you get in. You are on average better than the people who didn't get in. I want to listen to better orchestras not worse ones. I revel in their eliteness.

Classical music is all about the music of elites, played by elites for the benefit of people who aspire to something better (eliteness?). If you take the elite out of classical music there won't be any classical music.

Aspiration is the air that classical music breathes.

March 18, 2008 at 01:59 PM · I would like to try to clarify my meaning when I brought up the issue of "fear of elitism". I think that respect for diverse cultures and points of view is necessary for living a civilized and moral life. What concerns me is when this respect is confused with the abandonment of values. Discrimination is the basis of Art. Thousands of times a day we choose this pitch over that pitch. This tempo over that tempo. There are comic books and there is Shakespeare. I'm just not willing to make the leap of saying that there is nothing special about Shakespeare that separates his work from the comic books. If a dictator decreed that everyone may listen only to Heifetz and not to Vanessa Mae, I would be just as opposed as if it were the other way around........but this doesn't in the least cause me to equate the two.

March 18, 2008 at 01:47 PM · Corwin, I think you're getting to the heart of the issue. Of course an amateur orchestra isn't as good as a professional one by certain metrics.

But as I wrote in my blog, and expand on here, some people may not want to or even be able to use those metrics. Unless listeners are reasonably well educated in classical music, they may really not be able to tell the difference, in any meaningful way, between a good amateur orchestra and a professional orchestra. And I don't think this is shameful or signifying of the end of Western Civilization as we know it, it's just the way it is.

And in that situation, other metrics do become important. If your metric is "can I afford to pay for tickets?" then the free, or $15, amateur orchestra concert may very well be better than the professional concert that costs $75. If your metric is "will I be able to attend?" the Sunday afternoon amateur orchestra concert in the church around the corner with a big parking lot could indeed be better than the Saturday-night professional concert in parking-garage-only symphony hall downtown. If your metric is, "will I enjoy the experience and learn something from it even if I don't know much about classical music" the amateur orchestra concert where the young local composer comes out and talks to the audience might be better than the professional one where no one says a word.

It might be lamentable to some folks that others value those kinds of metrics over finer musical distinctions, but I think maybe it's time to get over it.

March 18, 2008 at 02:21 PM · "Marina, Could we infer then that an amateur orchestra is as good as a professional orchestra?"

Yes, and in many aspects better.

"Are the musicians who can play all the repertory just elitists snobs?"

Yes. People who practice with this goal in mind are dillusional. Learning music is a journey that never ends, and "playing all the repertoire" is not the final destination.

"Classical music is all about the music of elites, played by elites for the benefit of people who aspire to something better (eliteness?). If you take the elite out of classical music there won't be any classical music."

It's this kind of thinking that keeps most people out of the concert halls and engages their gag reflex. I do not perform music to be worshipped because music is not divine. This sounds more like a cult rationale... The type of musicians who think this way are the same ones who sneer when a baby cries in the middle of a concert rather than being happy about that baby being exposed to it.

March 18, 2008 at 03:40 PM · At first I thought this was a thread specifically about symphonies, but looking at it, it is about classical concerts in general.

So, now I am puzzled that it says "symphony" in the title of the thread. Why does concert equate to symphony? What kind of rubbish is that?

Well, nothing to see here, I'm off to that string quartet concert, have a nice day ...

March 18, 2008 at 03:57 PM · Yixi, I think it's the difference in secondary meanings between "elitism" and "expertise." Expertise is when you can fly an airplane, and elitism is when you think that the expertise means you can do surgery or be mayor as well. A good portrayal of elitism is Winchester in M.A.S.H. :) At this point I'm wondering if elitism isn't an integral part of classical as we've known it though, really, for better, worse, or indifferent. It never was to me personally, but I'm like a non-existent part of it really.

March 18, 2008 at 04:00 PM · Mr. Steiner, I could not agree more heartily with your posts. (I blogged about that very issue a few months ago.) :) Perhaps "elitism" is a loaded term in this era of political correctness--maybe "high standards" would be a less inflammatory term--but the concept you and I have been describing is, in my mind, the defining issue of that famous "problem with classical music" that so much ink has been spilled over...

March 18, 2008 at 04:38 PM · "Marina, Could we infer then that an amateur orchestra is as good as a professional orchestra?"

Marina: "Yes, and in many aspects better."

There are so many things wrong with that answer, I have to bite my tongue and leave this thread alone.

March 18, 2008 at 04:37 PM · Jim

Nice try but the dictionary defines elite and it has nothing to do with Winchester:

elite

adj : selected as the best; "an elect circle of artists"; "elite colleges" [syn: elect]

n : a group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status

Classical music, art and culture are about excellence. If we decide we don't want excellence anymore classical music will die. If we want it to thrive then we will encourage excellence in any way we can. We will teach children to discriminate between good things and bad things and we will have some standard of what is good and what is bad.

March 18, 2008 at 05:00 PM · A dictionary thumper!

P.S. if you have a good dictionary, it will include the implications I gave for the word, down at the bottom. I was talking only about those implications; why people can react to the word the way they do. Sure, at its most literal and basic it means only the same thing as expert, etc.

March 18, 2008 at 04:52 PM · I'm not sure who benefits from the theme that classical music is "elite," especially if the goal is to bring new listeners in.

Which "sales pitch" sounds better to you:

A. "I think my gizmo is fantastic, I love how it makes me feel. I think if you try it you may get to like it as much as I do."

B. "My gizmo reflects my superior taste and refinement and is superior to your gizmo in every way. Unless you get to like my gizmo you're just lumpenproletariat, dude."

March 18, 2008 at 05:06 PM · >There are so many things wrong with that answer, I have to bite my tongue and leave this thread alone.

Lisa, I'll try and do the same here. I get the feeling some of these replies are intended to get one's adrenaline going. So I will just join you in backing off.

But I loved what Jennifer Laursen said:

>I love to hear a great concerto played with an orchestra. As a non-musician myself I am amazed by strength and bravery of soloists and the solo versus orchestra interplay absolutely draws me in.

That says it for me as well. This "elitist" versus "non-elitist" stuff makes me scratch my head. I just like classical music. Always have, always will. Just heard it on a record as a kid and it called my name.

But, FWIW, I will indeed frown if a crying baby makes me not be able to enjoy a piece I paid $$ money (and a sitter) to enjoy. Never would have dreamed this might put me in a category of sorts. One learns so much here at V.com.

March 18, 2008 at 05:27 PM · P.P.S. Corwin, elitism of the kind I'm talking about would "tolerate" whatever Corwin has to say, because in reality he's not speaking from any particular credentials. And so it goes. In my opinion, and apparently yours too, music is inherently more egalitarian than say flying a plane. Neither of us has credentials acceptable to a good elitist.

March 18, 2008 at 05:39 PM · Amateur Orchestra : a gathering of people with a deep appreciation and love for music, willing to volunteer their time and share their personal voice to making that music happen without the benefits of money, networking, and status. For one reason or another these people did not choose music as their profession, but chose to include it in their lives regardless of their profession. I enjoy attending these types of concerts because you feel such a surge of accomplishments for the musicians like "I may not be Heifetz, but I just participated in bringing Beethoven alive"

Professional Orchestra: A compilation of highly trained and experienced musicians paid to perform for a monetary range of mostly paltry to exceptionally high salaries. I am in awe watching the flawless technique and famous people on stage.

Better? Which is better? Can one really say? Both seem equally important to me. Music must be made.. by whoever is willing to make it.

March 18, 2008 at 03:38 PM · Is a bad teacher a good teacher, just because you can afford the bad teacher but not the good teacher? No. It's actually just damaging to go to the bad teacher, at any price.

I think the same goes for an orchestra experience.

I would go to an amateur or youth orchestra to support a friend or student. But...

Beautiful music, played really well, does something for my soul. It doesn't matter how many times I've played or heard something; in an artists' hands, I am moved. I want to hear it played by the best-possible artists, in an atmosphere that respects those artists and respects the music.

Elitism is when you want that high-quality experience only for a chosen few. But high quality in itself is not elitism, nor is striving for it. I'm sad for the self-loathing musician who doesn't respect his or her own extraordinary efforts to create this kind of art.

I want that high-quality, moving, wonderful experience, when I play and when I go to a concert, but I'd like to see many, many more people experience it. The children of Venezuela know what I mean. You experience something very different when you play in perfect harmony, when your goal is something sublime.

But you have to show people what that is. I don't really mean that symphonies should stop trying to engage larger audiences. But I do think they miss out when they ignore those who are interested in the symphony for what it represents: a high form of musical artistry. Yes, engage with people, show them, tell them, listen to their thoughts about it. But don't take away the ARTISTRY.

March 18, 2008 at 05:45 PM · Is a bad teacher a good teacher, just because you can afford to pay the bad teacher but not the good teacher? No. It's actually just damaging to go to the bad teacher, at any price.

I think the same goes for an orchestra experience.

I would go to an amateur or youth orchestra to support a friend or student. And I think it's wonderful when children and adult students can continue to strive by playing this music.

But beautiful music, played really well, does something for my soul, and it's a different experience. It doesn't matter how many times I've played or heard something; in an artists' hands, I am moved. I want to hear it played by the best-possible artists, in an atmosphere that respects those artists and respects the music.

Elitism is when you want that high-quality experience only for a chosen few. But high quality in itself is not elitism, nor is striving for it. I'm sad for the self-loathing musician who doesn't respect his or her own extraordinary efforts to create this kind of art.

I want that high-quality, moving, wonderful experience, when I play and when I go to a concert, but I'd like to see many, many more people experience it. The children of Venezuela know what I mean. You experience something very different when you play in perfect harmony, when your goal is something sublime.

But you have to show people what that is. I don't really mean that symphonies should stop trying to engage larger audiences. But I do think they miss out when they ignore those who are interested in the symphony for what it represents: a high form of musical artistry. Yes, engage with people, show them, tell them, listen to their thoughts about it. But don't take away the artistry, and don't belittle it.

March 18, 2008 at 06:01 PM · On the question of bringing new listeners in, I agree with Buri, Oliver and others that the answer is not to attract them by "dumbing down" great music. But the traditional rep., not "dumbed down," can be promoted in new ways.

As someone who first acquired a taste for classical music in my late 20s, I agree that the "lure" should not be having a symphony play fluff pieces. This doesn't really instill a taste for good music and can't be very challenging or fulfilling for the musicians.

I think the lure should be relatively small, accessible (while still musically significant)pieces.

In my case I started listening to a lot of Chopin waltzes and mazurkas, some Bach, some Haydn piano sonatas, then some late Haydn symphonies, some short Schubert pieces. After listening to this kind of thing enough, I got "hooked" and went on to other things like Brahms trios. I think a lot of people would have such an experience if they started "small" rather than trying to absorb whole symphonic programs and feeling overwhelmed.

Since 2010 (March 1, to be exact) is the bicentennial of Chopin's birth, I'd like to see a major push from the entire classical music community to use the event as a way to introduce his music (and, by extension, classical music in general) to new people.

March 18, 2008 at 07:05 PM · This question of elitism's an interesting one. It's been mentioned that dumbing down a program may not help attract listeners, and that the 'elitism' of particularly professional musicians turns people away. There's another side of this which I don't think has been brought up yet.

I think the idea that classical music has to be some sort of profound experience scares a lot of people: "Oh no, it's Brahms. He's important - I'm supposed to go to a concert and have some wonderful, deep experience that makes me a better person. And if I don't, then I must be too stupid to understand it." People often think they're supposed to understand classical music on a certain level. But really, that isn't the case at all - music is fundamentally experiential. There are so many ways to enjoy it, and so many different things to enjoy. All this 'shoulds' detract from the simple experience of going to a concert and observing/seeing/hearing/feeling what happens.

I think it's often similar with literature. At McGill, I took a class on Joyce, where we read Ulysses. The awe people have of Joyce is similar to what I mean with classical music - there's so much there. The professor told us in the first lecture that he didn't want us spending all our time poring over secondary sources and critical studies. Instead we should concentrate on the text and what we got from it. We spent the semester discussing our personal observations and learning from each other, with some guidance from the prof. But there's something in Ulysses for everybody - and it's certainly not all deep and profound! The same can be said for classical music, if you ask me. Being open to the experience gives you the tools to have it.

Enough of that. Why do I go to the symphony? It's my world. I grew up with orchestras and ensembles. I go to watch how the machine works - to see what results which conductors get. I go because of the repertoire. I go to hear colours, to watch the section, to see what jokes have been made. I go to hear how different orchestras sound live. I watch the violins (very guilty of that one). I want to see who my friends and colleagues are sitting with. I like to see for myself how the orchestra reacts to certain conductors, and what their stick technique is really like. The reasons are endless, but it comes down to this: I go because it's what I am.

March 18, 2008 at 08:44 PM · I agree that symphonies need to focus on the more dedicated, classical music fans. The largest of the local symphonies plays too many "Pop" concerts. I do not see that these programs attract the attention of non-classical fans. I play in a smaller orchestra and get frustrated by the addition of Pop songs to the concert programs. Three weeks ago we played wonderful concert that insluded a concerto for the viola d'amour; now we are rehearsing a James Taylor medley. Oh death, where is thy sting?

March 18, 2008 at 09:57 PM · >Is a bad teacher a good teacher, just because

>you can afford the bad teacher but not the good

>teacher? No. It's actually just damaging to go

>to the bad teacher, at any price.

>I think the same goes for an orchestra

>experience.

But that's based on a simplistic assumption that there are only two kinds of teachers (and orchestras): good ones and bad ones. Surely you don't really mean that?

March 18, 2008 at 10:04 PM · it is difficult to tell what the patrons are looking for until you ask them. one way is for the orchestras to do some surveys among season ticket holders,,,what general direction would you prefer to see... and reach a consensus of compromise. opinions are cheap unless you really open up your wallet and vote. :)

on elitism...to those who are ignorant, anything and everything is elite. :) why bother defending, explaining it?

March 18, 2008 at 10:35 PM · "on elitism..."

Quoting Winchester won't help your cause, al.

:)

March 18, 2008 at 10:38 PM · Greetings,

you guys are writing so fats I can`t keep up....;)

>Amateur Orchestra : a gathering of people with a deep appreciation and love for music, willing to volunteer their time and share their personal voice to making that music happen without the benefits of money, networking, and status. For one reason or another these people did not choose music as their profession, but chose to include it in their lives regardless of their profession. I enjoy attending these types of concerts because you feel such a surge of accomplishments for the musicians like "I may not be Heifetz, but I just participated in bringing Beethoven alive"

Professional Orchestra: A compilation of highly trained and experienced musicians paid to perform for a monetary range of mostly paltry to exceptionally high salaries. I am in awe watching the flawless technique and famous people on stage.

The problems with thes edefintionsd is although they represnet a rather stereotypical image we have of both types they are inaccurate in many cases, omit a great deal and disguise the fact that there is a great dela of common ground.

Amateur players do not always have that great a love for music, play in a group for status and networking purposes in their locale. Sometimes it is sheer egotism and in some cases an amteur is unwilling to share their time, leaving the work to a dedicated few.I am referring here also to the hard work it takes ot administer an orchestra.

Many proifesisonals on the othe rhand, have such a depe and profound love of music that they choose to forgo the much greater benifits of status, money and networking and even a decent life in order to do what they love and govce to others.

This is the other extreme which I hope will not be taken perosnally by anyone. It simply illustrates what I belive are the two best kinds of msucians across the whole spectrum:

Amateurs with a profesisonal attitude.

Profesisonals with an amateurs heart.

Cheers,

Burp

March 18, 2008 at 10:51 PM · Unfortunately there is little any orchestra can do itself to change things. We have been busy telling folks so long that everything is good, all talents are equal, all modes of expression are valid, all chord progressions are musical ... that getting back to the notion that there really are some things that are inherently good and better and some things that are inherently bad is going to take a major shift in our thinking. It will take generations.

March 18, 2008 at 11:03 PM · Greetings,

>I think it's often similar with literature. At McGill, I took a class on Joyce, where we read Ulysses. The awe people have of Joyce is similar to what I mean with classical music - there's so much there. The professor told us in the first lecture that he didn't want us spending all our time poring over secondary sources and critical studies. Instead we should concentrate on the text and what we got from it. We spent the semester discussing our personal observations and learning from each other, with some guidance from the prof. But there's something in Ulysses for everybody - and it's certainly not all deep and profound!

I love this. It reminds me of a time I was invited to an indepth deminar on somehting or otehr with a lot of Japanes eAcademics who thought they were really with it becaus ethey could discuss the hidden inner depth of the Beatles songs for two hours. They asked me to give a spointaneous lecture on the meaning of Strawberry Fields Forever. I hastily explained that at the time they wanted to write a song about fields but needed somehting to define the idea. Yoko Ono was eating a strawberry ice cream amnd said `mmm, this strawberry ice cream is delicious.` So John Lennon screamed that`s it. Strawberry ...etc

Sadly, aforesaid academics then spent another two hours discusisng thesymbolism. I went off on an ice cream binge.

Cheers,

Buri

March 18, 2008 at 11:18 PM · And I love that! I don't know if your problem is that it was the Beatles, or because the symbolism they went on to discuss was at least in part accidental/incidental. That doesn't make the symbolism less than it would have been if it was contrived in some other way. You might even say the former is closer in origin to the symbolism you might find in nature, in life, etc., etc. But in both cases you can be sure there is attention paid to every possible meaning at some point, when it's a good work.

March 18, 2008 at 11:22 PM · I`ve been reading the `idiot`s Guide to Symbolism.`

I thought it wa s about learning a percussion instrument though...

PS My problem was they didn`t care about the Beatles that much;)

March 18, 2008 at 11:44 PM · You might be in disagreement with people smarter than you...depending on what you're saying. More elitist too. Goo googa joob!

PS but I did have an old English prof who refused to concede that any song lyric was poetry, so according to him it must be treated as its own thing. In other words, you can't compare Apple to oranges.

March 18, 2008 at 11:47 PM · No, there aren't just two kinds of teachers. But there are bad teachers. My point was that even if they charge $10 per month, that doesn't make them "good." That's a false economy, for teachers and for orchestras and for most things in general.

March 19, 2008 at 12:51 AM · I suppose there must be bad teachers, and certainly their charging less money wouldn't make them good teachers, but no one ever said it did--and who cares, anyway? That's a straw man argument, not worth the pixels it's printed with. Why waste an ounce of valuable time or thought on bad teachers?

I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that meeting the needs of people who love the symphony somehow means leaving other people out, trotting out the barrel full of easy fish to shoot, and taking aim. It seems to be very easy to assume the worst about bad teachers, bad orchestras, and the so-called "dumbing down" of classical music, and start bashing away. But after all the dust settles, does that really do any good?

March 19, 2008 at 01:18 AM · If you take someone who has never heard classical music before to a community orchestra concert at a high school auditorium, that person will walk away with a different impression of classical music than if you take that person to a beautiful orchestra hall to see the a world-class orchestra.

A student who learns on a $43 Chinese factory violin will have less tools to work with than a student who has a fine instrument.

A teacher with limited ability to play or communicate will not be able to convey the same things as one who has refined both skills.

March 19, 2008 at 01:34 AM · I'm intrigued by the concept of elitism and the symphony. Consequently, maybe the following questions and answers are called for:

1. Are only those of a certain social class allowed to attend a symphony? No.

2. Is it perceived that only those of a certain social class attend symphony concerts? Yes.

3. Is that perception true? Ah, now there's an interesting question. (Or to quote Radar O'Reilly, "Ah, Bach!")

I have no idea what point I was trying to make.

Neil

March 19, 2008 at 01:42 AM · Hawkeye and Trapper had a very healthy outlook on life I think.

March 19, 2008 at 01:30 AM · Its inspiring and its real music meant for art and not for entirely entertainment. Its more real and very dignified and takes more effort than just slopping down a song and making "it sound cool" which is what a lot of today's pop, rock, rap, and country types do. Classical music is an art and it is very expressive that can be used to express any thought or feeling in an artistic manner. I like it better than todays rock pop and rap because it does not always run on greed (money) or the same old same topics like todays music do (Examples: "My boyfriend broke my heart" or "My Cocaine and I" or "I hate your guts" or "I will love my boyfriend forever and then I broke up with him 2 weeks later"). I also like classical music better because it is longer and not meant as background music for the car. Its sound can be heard by anyone (unless their deaf) regardless of what they are or where theyre from. Also there are no lyrics (unless it is an opera) which makes it more pleasant to hear. Hearing a symphony play live is amazing to hear how it comes together. There are so many instruments and its interesting to hear all of them play on what they can sound like. Another thing I like about symphonies and classical music in general is that they do more live shows than recordings. The only downside is that the tickets can get pricey but its worth it.

March 19, 2008 at 02:24 AM · Greetings,

I think you just dissed the War Requiem, but don`t worry.;)

Cheers,

Buri

March 19, 2008 at 02:54 AM · If people really wanted classical music there would be plenty of money to fund symphony orchestras and well.

I live in Houston TX. Every year we have three weeks of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. There really is a livestock show and a rodeo but the main attraction is a nightly concert in the football arena.

It is now in its third and final week. During the first weekend Hannah Montana appeared. Tickets were being scalped for $2000 and her appearance broke all attendance records (77,000 for one performance.)

For those that don't know anything about Hannah Montana, I refer you to Youtube. Suffice it to say that her primary appeal is to pre-teen girls. (And that is because no one else can stand it.)Adults were not paying $2000 for a ticket for themselves.

A culture that can produce a Hannah Montana is going to have a hard time with symphony orchestra concerts. Some values have become horribly distorted. $2000 will buy a beginner instrument and a half a years lessons. If this is what parents want for their kids what chance does a symphony orchestra have?

March 19, 2008 at 04:51 AM · "I think you just dissed the War Requiem, but don`t worry."*

*delivered as Alan Alda doing Groucho Marx.

March 19, 2008 at 06:14 AM · who better?

March 19, 2008 at 06:20 AM · Buri -

>Amateur players do not always have that great a love for music, play in a group for status and networking purposes in their locale. Sometimes it is sheer egotism and in some cases an amteur is unwilling to share their time, leaving the work to a dedicated few.I am referring here also to the hard work it takes ot administer an orchestra.<

I can only speak for the amatures that I play with every week in my community orchestra (though probably not all of them...). We LOVE classical music and give it our all (for the time we DO have). If we didn't love it, we wouldn't be spending so much of our "free time" doing this. We volunteer the free time we have away from our day jobs to bring classical music to those who may otherwise not be able to attend the large professional symphonies. Mostly this is for our local retirement homes and those who may otherwise not be able to attend the OSO concerts.

The administration is also on a volunteer basis. This is on top of what we all do for our "day jobs".

We also engage the high school music groups and give them opportunities to perform in public. The HSO's latest concert had the regional high school choir sing many Norman Leyden pieces. It was an experience that they would normally never have.

OK, you hit a bit of a sore spot. The folks I play with definitely do NOT do this for egotism.

March 19, 2008 at 06:15 PM · I just came back from a concert. They played Janacek and Shostakovich. The hall was full as usual. These musicians are like many other professional classical musicians here, not well-paid and have to perform at symphony orchestra as well as in chamber groups in addition to teaching and adjudicating. The thing that they don’t do is to play for the ‘less educated’. Everyone there has an equal chance to experience something excellent. Everyone is assumed to be smart enough to enjoy the fine works of arts. I think the audience appreciate this type of respect tacitly displayed in their program and performance.

Victoria's Emily Carr String Quartet is a good example of musicians who have amateur hearts. The group is touring schools and long-term care facilities and performs whatever it loves as opposed to what the market demands.

March 19, 2008 at 07:01 AM · I once had a violin teacher who said that there is sometimes a very fine line between a good amateur and a bad professional.I have two students in my youth orchestra who chose not to study at a conservatory because of the precarious nature of making a living as a violinist.Istead they are now enrolled in university studying for other careers.However they are competatnt players and are making extra money by playing in a small town professional orchestra.

March 19, 2008 at 10:38 AM · "Amateur heart" is just patronizing. Professionals typically just enjoy playing. I used to go to a little piano bar to hear Louisville orchestra members stopping by after rehearsal to improvise a few pop tunes with the pianist. And really, lots of professional quality players become good amateurs or drop out and rust completely. In some of my favorite genres, nobody could possibly earn a living, so everyone's an amateur :) When's the last time you heard of a ragtime pianist on tour :)

PS on Russian classical music websites, you'll now and then still see mention of "artist of the people" type stuff, a new old way of thinking about this, straight from the motherland.

March 19, 2008 at 11:41 AM · "Elitism" is largely a straw-man type issue. Who is calling anyone an elitist? Most people who favor other types of music don't do so because they scorn the classical scene. They do so because they want to stick with what they know and like and don't see why they should try to like something that sounds foreign and difficult to them.

Musicians are (understandably) wrapped up in their own concerns and really don't understand what the listening public is all about.

March 19, 2008 at 02:42 PM · I recently took my 14 yr old drum learning son to a concert which included the Beethoven v. concerto and Brahms symphony #4. My son listens mostly to "rock" (Green Day, Blink 182... you know the sort of thing). He overhears the classical music I play with amusement or sometimes irritation. I was curious how he'd react to the concert hall orchestral experience. Well, to put it mildly he was blown away. He enjoyed the concerto (enthusiastically soloed by Benjamin Schmid) and the symphony “was great”. It was the rhythm, timpani (of course) and the togetherness of the orchestra which most impressed him. "I'd love to go again!" he retorted. He didn't need a lot of musical analysis to enjoy the tunefulness of the Brahms 4, though I suppose if the concert had consisted of more difficult modern “stuff” I may have got a different reaction. Think what I'm trying to say is if it ain't bust don't fix it. My son enjoyed the experience the way it was. Provided the music is "good" (an issue for debate in itself) and well performed there ought to be no problem.

Cheers,

John

March 19, 2008 at 05:05 PM · Going back to the original question:

"It seems to me that symphonies should stop trying to attract people who have little or no interest in classical music, and start honing in on the inherent draw of this kind of experience"

What is the inherent draw of this kind of experience? How are we to draw a large enough crowd to see what we do if we do not attract and educate people who are not interested?

Why do you think people are not interested?

March 19, 2008 at 05:24 PM · My point is that I DO believe that there is an inherent draw in the symphony experience. I also think there are symphony administrators and even musicians that do not understand this draw, or even believe that it exists. They are trying to sustain something they don't even believe in.

But I DO. Still, it's hard to describe, and that's why I'm asking you guys!

I promise I'm going to write more about it after these little threads flame out. ;)

March 19, 2008 at 05:31 PM · Also, it sort of reminds me of skiing. It's a powerful experience that takes some work, and many people never get past the work that it takes.

When my kids were skiing down the bunny slope during their beginning ski lessons, they didn't see the point of it. All they saw was that they had to bundle themselves into a bunch of ill-fitting, uncomfortable equipment and attempt to do something that felt rather scary and unnatural. And all so they could...go down a lame, boring, iced over bunny slope with a bunch of kids? But when they got good enough, they went up on the mountain. They rode the lift, saw the beautiful view. Their descent down the mountain was awkward, for sure, and my daughter enjoyed it rather more than my son, as he was just tired. But she was bit by the ski bug -- she was ready for more. She was ready to go back up. Ready to do it again: driving five hours to the mountain, putting on long underwear, wearing those awful boots, putting on the skis, getting over the awkwardness, falling down, etc., etc.,

She didn't understand it with any depth, didn't get bit by the bug, until she felt what it was like on the mountain.

March 19, 2008 at 07:12 PM · What I love about it is that it's never the same thing. I could go to the same program played by the same group day after day after day, and while there might not be any huge changes, each performance is going to be just a little different. People with instruments aren't machines, they're not synthetic replacements for art and sound, they're living breathing moving groups of coordinated movement and emotion - there's an aspect that life adds in that can't be duplicated on recordings or on TV.

And honestly? I think that the key to attracting more patrons to the arts is exposing more students to the arts at younger ages, and keeping the arts present throughout their schooling. It might get branded elitist because music is one of those fickle subjects whose budget depends greatly on the affluence of the school district and tax base that supports it, but there's certainly something to be said about a school with a well-developed music program and where those students end up as adults in relation to appreciation of classical music.

March 19, 2008 at 07:19 PM · To hear a piece of music, played by a great orchestra, using top-quality instruments, in a decent hall, with a competant stick waver is one of the finest experiences civilization has to offer.

Some orchestras in the US are doing just fine. Some are not. A good read on this subject is Joseph Horowitz's "Classical Music in America: A History of its Rise And Fall".

As far as concentrating on Classical repertoire, most orchestras in this country would collapse without the $$$ that pops concerts bring in. Whether or not pops concerts cultivate new revenue streams (ie audience building for the classical subscription concerts) is a very interesting question...

March 19, 2008 at 07:07 PM · I think people are interested, and that the draw of the symphony experience itself is somewhat self-evident, even if hard to describe in words.

But I have to admit I was pretty upset by the implication that just as going to a "bad" teacher could be "damaging," going to a symphony concert by an amateur or community orchestra would also be "damaging." Is that really what you were trying to say? That community and amateur orchestras damage their audiences? Or at the very least are somehow excluded from having any "inherent draw"?

It is nice to want a high-quality symphony experience to be more widely available to more people. I want that too. But people draw the high-quality line in different places. Not everybody's soul is nourished the same way or by the same things. (I am not saying, however, that such lines can't or shouldn't be drawn.) And I don't believe that anyone in the audience was damaged by listening to my amateur orchestra concert last Sunday.

You plead, "don't take away the artistry, and don't belittle it," but where's the evidence that anyone is doing that in the first place?

March 19, 2008 at 07:25 PM · I am sure many of you have read the terrific book "This is Your Brain on Music". One of his theses is that appreciation of music requires exposure. The listener needs to have some sort of a mental map so that they have a sense of where the music is going and so that they can be surprised by novel turns and twists in harmony or rhythm. The ability to name cadences or the knowledge of the social and political context of a particular work may enhance one's appreciation of music, but it is not essential- exposure is.

I had a Spanish teacher who took me to the Portland Opera and the Portland ballet. I was able to see the Oregon Symphony on school band trips. These experiences were so important to me. My family didn't have a stereo or record player, and other than what I sang in choir or played in band, I heard very little music.

March 19, 2008 at 09:30 PM · Good point by Anne (which she's now edited away, and which I forgot).

The inherent draw thing I don't follow. I don't see a good analogy to skiing. Symphony orchestras a cultural thing that everyone doesn't share. To me, American society is varying degrees of The Grapes of Wrath. Symphonies might be the greatest thing since skiing for some people but it's crazy to think it has any draw to Tom Joad. You have to convince him your religion is better than his. lol. And I suspect at the real nitty-gritty level Tom Joad is purposely excluded, really. As in you don't see string quartets trying to get bookings where he is.

March 19, 2008 at 08:41 PM · When I did orchestra, pops never bothered me, even though that sort of music is not my favorite. Some of those concerts were actually, gasp, fun. I was always happy to have a couple of paltry rubles to rub together, no matter what little black dots were on the charts...

A friend of mine in a low-level troubled ICSOM orchestra, (not in the news now, but a long history of "problems") told me about a concert they did with music from video games. This person said "I don't care what we play. That concert was packed. I don't have to stack up cabbages at Kroger."

Also, CMA (Chamber Music America) has had a rural residency program for small town America that has been quite successful. These residencies involve concerts, education, community outreach, etc, and tend to last awhile. A year, I think? Good stuff. Tom Joad can hear late Beethoven quartets too (insert smiley face here). A quartet is a bit cheaper to fund than an orchestra though.

March 19, 2008 at 09:20 PM · Some social engineering is called for here. We need a federal Department of Getting Beethoven on the Jukebox at Truck Stops. Couple generations, problem solved.

Tom Joad was a bad move on my part, but a good extreme example. Lack of interest isn't owned by anyone in particular.

March 19, 2008 at 09:05 PM · What does dumbing down mean? Just because orchestras add music that is not mozart, beethoven, or brahms?

I wonder if I would have had any interest in music if it wasn't for cartoons when I was a kid. I wonder if my students would be interested in learning the violin if I didn't first played for them the Spongebob Squarepants theme.

For all the training I've had in violin and the successful career I now enjoy I do not think I am too good to do pops concerts. Good posture to play violin does not require the nose to be turned upwards.

March 19, 2008 at 09:22 PM · There's something really exciting about going to a concert or to the opera. That thrill of entering the foyer of the hall or opera house - wondering how the evening is going to pan out - will it be a great gig or just an OK one? The sense of anticipation when you take your seat and for me, the thrilling sound of an orchestra tuning up.

I love watching orchestras play and always have done since my first concert visit as a child. If youngsters only encounter "classical" music from recordings, how can they ever experience the thrill of the live performance?

March 19, 2008 at 09:12 PM · Quite a few heady posts. Each person unique to themself, even amoung my twin step sons as identical they were/could be each had an individual's hall-mark. When everything mentioned is finaly all figured out someone has figured out how to fit a Elephant into a nut shell.

Why I go to symphonies,Hmmmmmmmm. I like imagining that I'm one of the violinists up there. Some day when I'm playing in a symphony/orchestra and I'm asked how far have I come? I will say, "Umm between 12 feet to 63 yards!:-) Depending where I once was in the audience in proportion to where I am 'Now' on stage! Yuk, Yuk!"

I like going to symphonies to watch how people do what Dr. Pinell or Dr.G has tought me. I like watching the musicians and catching little gold nuggets, even if it's an instrument I know nothing about. I like watching the conductors and members, and how they develop the theme, the body, the soul of a peice, and the dinamics and how 'they' acomplish it.

Even though I may have heard a peice many, many times I always learn something new from someone up there. The peice is always different and reflecs the differences each of us are, and the simularities, hearing a peice again by someone else, for me, is like meeting a new person. Some I like some with things about them I don't like. And it's kind of like when someone posts something here at V.com each 'violinist' or other instrument player adds something the other hasn't or complaments another.

That's why I like going to symphonies,

by Royce.

March 20, 2008 at 12:03 AM · Jim, the amateur hearts don’t mind being patronized, especially the hearts of the elitist-expert professionals, says the artist of the people straight from the motherland. The treatment can be a lot worse, know what I'm sayn'

March 20, 2008 at 12:23 AM · Consider this:

The median age for an attendee of a Metropolitan Opera performance in NYC is 62.

March 20, 2008 at 12:45 AM · Yixi I was interested in what you had to say too, when you wrote "Victoria's" but it only lasted a second :)

March 20, 2008 at 12:55 AM · Greetings,

>OK, you hit a bit of a sore spot.

Not sure why. I carefully qualified the point.

Cheers,

Buri

March 20, 2008 at 02:34 AM · Sorry Buri - had a bad hair day. Over it now... :)

March 20, 2008 at 03:12 AM · at least you`ve got hair;)

March 20, 2008 at 03:22 AM · Jim is hard to please:)

March 20, 2008 at 03:24 AM · I just demand the best you're capable of, Yixi :)

March 20, 2008 at 04:09 AM · Jim's comments are,for the most part, outrageously unintelligible,obtrusive and ineffective to the realm of humanity !

March 20, 2008 at 03:46 AM · How come the Mozart Effect didn't work on you?

March 20, 2008 at 03:33 AM · Buri - but it turned all white on me in a matter of weeks!!!

March 20, 2008 at 05:44 AM · To answer your original question, I love the potential to experience a group of people on stage moved by the magic of music to express something at a place and time that will never be expressed again. To be witness to it is one of the great joys of life- even if I perceive it happens less often with large symphony orchestras and more frequently at chamber music recitals, it is a wonder to behold- to see and hear something unique and wonderful presented as a great gift of passion and committment. If such opportunities were to evaporate, the world would be a poorer place. Part of being human is being able to create, recreate, and share the experience- the music is what it is- anyone who can hear can potentially experience all levels of understanding, appreciation, and visceral excitement and profound expression of the soul. It is up to us teachers and performers who love classical music to strive to make available its gifts in an honest sincere caring way so that others may come to love it also. One can argue about the best ways to do so, but I've always felt that one can gauge a measure of success if even one person among those in attendance comes up after a concert and says something to the effect, " You looked (sounded) like you were really enjoying yourself, like there was nothing better you could imagine doing than sharing your music with us". It's in the attitude- that will always be enough for me. You must love what you do and not calculate or figure out what you think others expect you to do.

March 20, 2008 at 06:54 AM · I'm anxious to read Laurie's follow-up. Her question here's got an interesting statement lurking behind it but we don't know what it is.

March 20, 2008 at 04:13 PM · Drew McManus over at Adaptistration.com has an interesting project going on called "Take A Friend to the Symphony." He's going to publish a number of blogs in mid-April about the subject, and I'm planning to write one of them. I will let everyone know when it's happening; the blogs will all be about this subject, basically! If you have any more comments feel free to e-mail me. :)

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