Tag Archives: symphony

#Auddev chat, June 28, 2013 at Noon ET – Twtr Symphony

#Auddev chat, June 28, 2013 at Noon ET – Twtr Symphony

A chat with Chip Michael, Artistic Director of the Twtr Symphony – an online symphony comprised of musicians from all over the world that connected on Twitter. This is one good example of how you can use social media to create for and with your audiences!

  1. Hello and welcome to #auddev chat. I’m your host, Shoshana from Audience Development Specialists.
  2. We will be chatting with @chipmichael the Artistic Director of the Twtr Symphony. Please use the hashtag #auddev to join the conversation!
  3. @chipmichael Good day to you, and thank you for chatting with us. Please do introduce yourself. #auddev
  4. I am a composer and Music Director for TwtrSymphony – an international orchestra made of people who’ve connected via twitter #auddev
  5. The concept of @TwtrSymphony started when a few of my twitter friends suggested I start an orchestra to help get my music performed #auddev
  6. @chipmichael Can you give us a basic history of the Twtr Symphony? How did you get the idea? How many musicians? Etc? #auddev
  7. However, the idea has grown to be much more than a vanity project for my music. We have over 100 musicians participating world wide #auddev
  8. The music has been listened to online thousands of times via our website twtrsymphony.instantencore.com or on Youtube #auddev
  9. Follow hashtag #auddev for a conversation about the Twtr Symphony. Using social media to create!
  10. We started @TwtrSymphony in March 2012 based a lark. I wanted a new composition performed but didn’t have an orchestra #auddev
  11. Can you fill us in on the process of building your Twitter Symphony? Twtr Symphony. #auddev
  12. By the end of March 2012 @TwtrSymphony had over 300 musicians wanting to audition. It was crazy (and exciting) #auddev
  13. @chipmichael So a group of twitter friends saying “let’s build a symphony!” #auddev
  14. The process of building the symphony was all about getting the word out on Twitter and inviting musicians to audition #auddev
  15. We are @twtrSymphony is a orchestra of musicians from around the world that play music together remotely #auddev @lynnekingsley
  16. Each musician gets their part and a click track, they record it, we put all the parts together 4 the final recording #auddev @lynnekingsley
  17. @chipmichael So there is no location where you all get together. You are putting together the piece with remote performances? #auddev
  18. If you’d like to hear some of our music (and see some of the musicians playing) 1st ‘symphony’ is here youtube.com/playlist?list=… #auddev
  19. Just clarifying for those people unfamiliar with this type of recording method. #auddev
  20. I’m curious, did you know these people before Twitter? #auddev
  21. That’s correct #auddev unlike most other orchestras, the musicians don’t physically meet. I’ve only met 3 of them in person.
  22. yet now, I consider many of them very good friends #auddev
  23. @chipmichael So you have built relationships with all of these people via Twitter and formed a symphony. Brilliant! #auddev
  24. I knew some of the musicians before we starterd, but the power of social media took it way beyond my ‘friend’ list #auddev
  25. @chipmichael Why did you decide to use Twitter versus any other method out there. #auddev
  26. Another aspect of TwtrSymphony is building these relationships and promoting what these musicians are doing outside TwtrSymphony #auddev
  27. @chipmichael Yes, it looks like a very supportive network for you and the musicians. #auddev
  28. One musician plays with @DetroitSymphony so we promote their dso.com/dsolive performances that include @garrettMcQueen #auddev
  29. Just a note to the normal symphony format – creating a supportive network for your musicians would be a great #auddev addition!
  30. We try to be supportive of music in general too, with a focus on what our musicians are doing #auddev
  31. I so agree! #auddev Other orchestras would find if they would promote their musicians, their musicians would reciprocate.
  32. @chipmichael So not only are you promoting the musicians, but also their regular gigs, which includes other symphonies. #auddev
  33. @chipmichael Have any orchestras approached you to collaborate directly? Do they know what you are doing to help them? #auddev
  34. Of course #auddev Music is not Me! Me! Me! – music is a shared experience. It needs musicians, but it needs an audience. They go handNHand
  35. By supporting our musicians (and other orchestras) we help promote music #auddev the more popular classical music is, the better for us too!
  36. Wondering if any musicians from @twtrsymphony are on Twitter right now to chat about what is like for them. #auddev
  37. We are ‘friends’ with numerous orchestras, and are supported (via tweets and promotion) by many, but no collaborations yet #auddev
  38. We are an orchestra of musicians spreading our music 140 secs at a time #auddev
  39. Twitter was the medium for @TwtrSymphony because of the ‘conversational’ nature of it #auddev
  40. @chipmichael Do you use other social media formats as well? Which ones? #auddev
  41. We wanted an orchestra connected like Twitter connects people – engaging around the world – interacting #auddev
  42. I agree how powerful Twitter can be if used in the social manner it was meant for. ;O) #auddev
  43. Yes – we are on Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr #auddev We have a website and eventually be on LinkedIn, Google … but managing an orchestra
  44. … takes time and energy as does each of these social media platforms and I only have so many hours in a day #auddev
  45. @chipmichael Very true. It does take time. Focusing on the format that works best for you is a good point. #auddev
  46. I really wish other orchestras understood the power of twitter. Some use it well, but most just hawk their performances. #auddev
  47. @chipmichael LOL at “hawk.” Speaking of interaction, what types of interaction do you have with your audiences? #auddev
  48. Exactly – to make social media work, you have to understand how it works and why it works to be effective. #auddev
  49. I’m also curious about who your audiences are and how you engage with them. #auddev
  50. Interaction with our audiences comes in tweets, comments and suggestions #auddev We try and respond to all comments personally…
  51. Our audience is the world on the web so engaging means getting them to be aware of us and sharing what we’ve done with their friends #auddev
  52. But it also means listening to what they’re saying, answering their suggestions for new ideas #auddev We don’t take them all; we do respond
  53. Our videos are a good example of spreading the word. Our symphony has been watched 4k times #auddev & still popular on several channels
  54. @chipmichael With this new format, are you seeing people that are new to classical music become your audience members? #auddev
  55. If you’re listening to what your audience is saying (or not saying) #auddev UR able to glean what direction you need to take.
  56. If anyone else has questions, please tweet and use the #auddev hashtag.
  57. I don’t to suggest @twtrSymphony succeeds all the time. We don’t – but we’re always trying, looking at ways to innovate, grow #auddev
  58. We did a piece last Dec “Raise Your Voice” for the people of #Newtown in response to the shooting #auddev
  59. Being playing with MediaLabs @screensinthewild if you @broadwaycinema give it a glance. #auddev bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/graduate/scree…
  60. “Raise Your Voice” wasn’t an anti-gun piece, but rather a ‘power of music to heal’ piece #auddev It STILL hasn’t released…
  61. No, it is going to be released free to download with the score available for performances. The point was to show community spirit #auddev
  62. @chipmichael Which is a great point. We can use the arts to participate in and show support for our communities. #auddev
  63. The problem in getting the music out is partly due to our process and we’re working on fixing that. #auddev
  64. @chipmichael Have you ever done a “live concert” format for a live audience? #auddev
  65. Yes – Artists need to show their passion for music, but also for the communities they live in. #auddev
  66. By the very nature of @TwtrSymphony a ‘live concert” isn’t possible. Trying 2get 6 musicians streaming over the internet live is…#auddev
  67. … technically impossible right now. We have some companies working on options, but the lag time from the connections prevents it. #auddev
  68. @chipmichael I was thinking more along the lines of creating YouTubes that people could watch together live & chat in live time. #auddev
  69. @chipmichael I understand lag times. Technology has not caught up yet. #auddev
  70. We are working on doing more interactive ‘live’ communication between groups of musicians, but that still won’t be live perfromances #auddev
  71. Hmmmm a concept we hadn’t talked about yet – maybe we should chat more about this later 😀 #auddev
  72. @chipmichael Yes, challenging for an actual live concert so I used air quotes. LOL! #auddev
  73. @chipmichael So what’s in store for future projects? Do you have any upcoming ones to share with us? #auddev
  74. We did get approached by an orchestra about developing a multi-orchestra piece with three live feeds – but again technology hindered #auddev
  75. We did a Kickstarter last Jan-Feb but it didn’t get funded. We have 20 scores of other composers we’d like to record. That’s NEXT #auddev
  76. @chipmichael I can’t wait for the tech to catch up. I have seen live with a recording of the other artist, but not both live. #auddev
  77. Unfortunately, no one at TwtrSymphony is paid (anything) so we have to work around day jobs – and recently mine has been HECTIC #auddev
  78. Wow, 20 scores. This is a great use for the @twtrsymphony. Helping other composers get out there! #auddev
  79. Multiple live performances is definitely where the tech is headed – but not there yet #auddev
  80. That’s right, using @TwtrSymphony to help other composers get exposure – again, we’re about sharing music, promoting music #auddev
  81. We believe in the power of music to change lives. It certainly has for us! #auddev@twtrsymphony
  82. @chipmichael Hmmm…that is along the lines that artists will create without being paid, topic came up again at latest conference. #auddev
  83. @chipmichael Were there any other projects that inspired you to create Twtr Symphony? #auddev
  84. In TedTalk @AmandaPalmer said it right: don’t ask the audience to pay for music, let them. If we do this right, the money will come #auddev
  85. I have to say that I’m very impressed with the networking, sharing, and promoting aspects of @twtrsymphony #auddev
  86. .@TwtrSymphony still has a long ways to go but the dedication of the musicians makes it worth the effort on my part #auddev
  87. I am seeing more artists/orgs attempting to use social media to create for and with their audiences. A trend that will expand! #auddev
  88. Are there any questions for Chip before going to last thoughts? #auddev #askaway
  89. I hope so #auddev @AudienceDevSpec Art needs to engage and social media is a great way to do it!
  90. Please don’t be shy and ask, especially if you are thinking of starting a project of this nature. #auddev
  91. We have 4 min. left. Do you @chipmichael have any last thoughts to share? #auddev
  92. For people who consider starting any project, don’t be daunted by the size, or disappointed by failures. Every project has hiccups #auddev
  93. The ones that succeed work through the hiccups and keep trying. Commit to the long haul. #auddev If U don’t try, you automatically #fail
  94. @chipmichael Experiment and share! There are so many great ideas floating around that are not attempted due to fear of failure. #auddev
  95. I want to take this moment to thank @chipmichael for chatting with us about @twtrsymphony. Can you share your links again? #auddev
  96. Our next #auddev chat will be in July, but might need to be rescheduled. Stay tuned! #auddev
  97. If you’d like to hear some of what we’ve done, the videos of our debut symphony are here: youtube.com/playlist?list=… #Auddev
  98. A transcript of this chat will be provided within a week. #auddev
  99. You can read more about @twtrSymphony here: twtrsymphony.instantencore.com/web/home.aspx #auddev
  100. Of course, we’re always open to chatting on twitter @TwtrSymphony or on Facebook facebook.com/TwtrSymphony #auddev let us know what U think.
  101. Thanks again to @chipmichael and thank you to everyone who was watching today. I now return the hashtag #auddev to its regular schedule!
  102. @Chipmichael I really enjoyed the conversation about @twittersymphony thanks for sharing that with us. Keep bringing us music! #Auddev

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The changing face of classical music for arts audience development

Inspired by the article, The changing face of opera, posted in the Oxford University Press’ blog by Meghann Wilhoite, I give you my first mini-podcast for 2013.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Good team arts management and audience development can turn it around

I remember going through one round of union negotiations that was as nail biting as the ones I am seeing in the news about the Atlanta Symphony.  We didn’t know if we would be able to have a full season.  Cuts were on the table.  And, this was during the season, not before it, so even more crucial that decisions be made.

I watched as the decisions to shut down the office for two weeks, to have a pay cut for the staff for a month, to scale back a full orchestra concert to a chamber concert, and to issue cuts to musicians’ pay were enacted.  I didn’t feel this was the right answer at the time, but at the time, it really was an emergency.  How did the orchestra get to this point?

In a polite way, it takes good team arts management to run an orchestra.  Good team arts management consists of everyone thinking about the delicate balance of revenue and expenses at all times, and not letting either side cave in.  Here’s the funny part about arts management of old. It is not a team mentality and instead it is run by groups of separate minds.

The revenue is comprised of money from the music or the product (and people believing in the product to invest donations).  This product is made by the orchestral employees of the business.  The employees rarely have a say in the product, with the exception of the music/artistic director.  The product of live music isn’t something manufactured and then placed on a shelf to sell.  The musicians have to create the product time and time again in a live fashion.  Without the musicians, you would not have a product!

The staff and board are responsible for obtaining extra revenue to keep the budget in balance and for selling the product.  The board and executive staff are responsible for the overall budget, expenses and revenue.   The musicians do not really have a hand in this side of the business, although they may have opinions that might be voiced in the form of an orchestral committee.

If the orchestra does not balance their expenses and revenues, they will be in big trouble, which is what we are seeing these days in the news.  Running an orchestra is costly.  Obtaining funds for an orchestra year after year can feel like a monumental task. The solution that the boards and executive staffs seem to  implement every time when times are tough is to start making cuts to the staff, the music and the musicians.  This means they are cutting into their product and making cuts to the people that can sell the product.  This does not make sense to me. I never see a company in trouble actually cut their product in half and place it back on the shelf to sell.  The marketing team would need to spin how fantastic the half of a product is while the consumers know full well they are getting half a product which is not valued as much.  Since it is likely that cuts are made to marketing/development/box office during this phase, it is less likely the orchestra will have a solid staff to carry out this impossible task anyway.

I do hear of talks about looking into raising more money.  However, it is rare when I see the boards and the executive staffs step up enough to make good on their words.

All of the above leaves the audiences feeling sad, angry, not very secure about their orchestra and how they handle their monetary support.  Many of the audience members will side with the musicians since they know that it takes musicians to create the enjoyable night they are paying to see.  The audiences will be less likely to want to donate or volunteer when it gets to this point.

So, who can fix these messes?  Everyone.

1.  The board and executive staff need to step up and secure donations, sponsorships, and stronger leadership. This means that they need to acknowledge that they may need extra help to get them out of this mess.

2. The executive staff needs to allocate some of the budget for audience development programs.  Audience development programs can create more audience and more donors and volunteers.  This also means having the money for outreach events and for paying the musicians for these events.  If there is no money to allocate (usually there is, but for devils advocate sake), the musicians would be wise to volunteer for a round of these outreach concerts until money will be set aside for their pay in the future.

3. Everyone needs to start connecting with people again and becoming part of the community.  More collaborations need to be made at this time.  More implementing of programs that show you care about your audience through this tough phase is crucial.

4. Everyone needs to start connecting with each other in order to run the business properly.  Since the musicians create the product, maybe they should have a little more say in this part of the  equation.  Since the board and staff are responsible for the budgets and for selling the organization and product, the musicians need to listen to them as well.  Everyone in a non-profit needs to step up, donate and volunteer at some point.  It takes a team to make a non-profit business successful.

5. If cuts are being made to musicians and staff pay, cuts should also be made to executive pay.  If you do not act as a team during this phase, people will simply remain resentful. Everyone should take the hit.  In our age of easy transparency, if someone catches wind that the executive staff is not taking any cuts, it will look bad for the organization.

6. The board needs to be responsible for the overall health of the organization.  If the organization isn’t healthy, then you need a different board or different board dynamic.  The challenge is that the board is in charge of themselves (similar to how our congress runs in America).  It will take a mighty strong leader to start implementing board evaluations and making changes that are necessary to get the board functioning properly again.

7. The organization needs to realize that every component is important for running an arts organization.  Cutting off one part will hurt the whole, which is why we see some of these organizations going into bankruptcy and closing their doors.  Until everyone works together and does their job to correct the imbalances, the organization will not be able to turn around.

8. The audiences need to learn that ticket prices only pay for 30-40% of the costs of the orchestra.  Audiences, if they want the orchestra to succeed, could volunteer their time to help bring others to the orchestra and donate monetary support above the cost of the tickets to increase the revenue stream.  However, audience development programs need to be ready and in place, and audiences need to be invited to participate and get more involved.  These programs will be seen as positive energy and will show that the orchestra is working toward a positive direction.

9.  In fact, everyone that is part of the organization should be responsible for “selling.”  Everyone can be an ambassador for the organization and  invite people to attend the various events.  Everyone can be more involved with connecting, collaborating, caring and becoming a part of the community on behalf of the orchestra.  The main problem with these old fashioned non-profits is all the “it’s not my job” that has been established.  A new team mentality needs to be born instead.

I have likened the bigger arts organization to a Titanic.  If something goes wrong, it will take different actions, not remaining the course, to turn the big ship around.  If you remain the course, your ship will hit the iceberg, and things will start sinking.

The audience of your product is also the audience of your business.  They will be the ones watching your ship sink.  Wouldn’t you rather have them watching and enjoying the music?

It takes a team to create an orchestra arts organization, and it will take a team to run it successfully as well. Everyone can roll up their sleeves and get to work to create a healthier organization.  Functioning as a team is good arts management and using audience development for a solution is too.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Bigger arts organizations and audience development

I have seen two more news stories about symphony orchestras going bankrupt.  What in the world is happening?  We could say this is a case of audiences no longer relating to these bigger organizations and how they function and present their art.  Times are changing and the ways that audiences want to participate and become more a part of the arts could be a big piece of the puzzle.  I do not feel it is due to humans no longer relating to the art itself, which has been proven is not the case.

In my humble opinion, it is the fact that these bigger organizations are functioning using old school management and marketing, and they have yet to switch to a new audience development mentality.  I see that some of these organizations have 10-20 people on their marketing staff and on their development staff.  It is not the case that they do not have the capacity or people power.  I have seen organizations with less than 6 people on their staff use audience development effectively.  I believe the problem lies with the fact they refuse to shift and change with the times.

The other piece of this puzzle is the hush-hush nature of how these organizations are being run.  They refuse to be transparent, and when they are in the beginnings of needing help, they do not allow their audiences to be a part of the solution.  Instead they continue to hide behind the mask of “everything is fine” and continue to clunk along using the same old methods that they have been operating with for decades.

When it comes down to the wire, the last leg moments of functioning, this is when these organizations divulge the information that they are in serious trouble.  The media is more than happy to show how dire the situation is for these organizations, and there is hardly a positive leg to stand upon.  I admire the late turn-around spirit that some of these organizations are attempting to promote, but in many cases, it might be a little too late to get these massive ships to turn-around.  The iceberg was spotted long ago, but now they do not have enough time, and the impact sinks these organizations like the Titanic.

The good news is that like a phoenix, new organizations rise from the ashes, and hopefully with this renewal will come a new mentality, an audience development mentality of working with your audiences to build better arts organization.

We no longer can ignore our audiences or give them what we think they want.  They want to be included, and they want us to be more responsible and accountable when they do give us their support.  They provide us our livelihoods.  We owe them the best in return.  There should be no more excuses.  If you are a bigger organization, you have the capacity.  It is time to shift your presumptuous operations mentality to a mentality that builds relationships and partnerships with your audiences.  Please do so as soon as possible so you will not become another Titanic in the sea of dead arts organizations.

PS  This is a generalization.  There are bigger organizations that are doing well and have changed with the times.  They serve as wonderful examples for all of us.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

 

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Audience Development, Peter Gabriel and Orchestras

Last night I went to see one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.  He is right up there with the Beatles, Sting/The Police, and all my favorite classical music composers.  For this concert tour, Peter Gabriel was being backed by his own orchestra, the New Blood orchestra.  He chose particular songs to have arranged (brilliantly, I will add by John Metcalfe) so the mix was a little more on the mellow side.  There was no “Big Time” or “Sledgehammer,” but instead moving and powerful renditions of “Mercy Street” and “Blood of Eden.”

I’m not here to review the concert per se, although I highly recommend going to see this concert, but I am here to tell you that the crowd was not only hooting and hollering for Peter, they were also very excited about the orchestra.   The orchestra was mainly comprised of  musicians from the local area and the UK.  The conductor, Ben Foster, looked very young, but was extremely polished. These musicians played with such passion and conviction that you couldn’t help cheer them on.

I have no idea if other people in this audience were orchestral fans or as big of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am, but the audience was right there with me in acknowledging powerfully performed music.

Aside from the high quality content of this concert, the execution was audience friendly.  Peter told stories of how a song came into fruition to lead into the music.  Having a better understanding of the song led to a deeper enjoyment of the music.  He was gracious in always giving nods to his fellow musicians, and he definitely seemed to being having a wonderful time, always adding his personal theatrical flair.

Of course Peter couldn’t help adding a multi-media show with video images on a finely meshed backdrop.  It served as a curtain for the orchestra as well.  He is a highly creative individual that has to share the many sides of his artistry.  The video shared the many sides of the music, including the performers themselves.

Even when it rained, perhaps due to his heavy choice of water image songs, the crowd continued to be enthralled the entire time.  I was getting bathed and soaked in both rain and wondrous music.   This means that despite the set backs of the venue or any happenstance, there was no way the audience was budging from this amazing night.

Now back to the orchestra.  There has been a trend with musicians wanting to go on tour with an orchestra, and I do not see this trend letting up.  Just today I saw another article Deep Purple Guitarist Talks North American Orchestral Tour.  There is a draw for musicians to spread their wings, and working with an orchestra can provide a new outlet for their music.  This has many advantages for the orchestra world if they are smart enough to see these advantages.

First, there are new audiences being introduced to the sounds of an orchestra in a format that is already pleasing to them, a rock concert.  The audience usually ends up cheering on the orchestra as well as the main artist.  Some of the audience will take a liking to how an orchestra sounds and seek out recordings and concerts in the future.  Here is the biggest advantage, if you are an orchestra in the area and happen to have one of these types of concerts in town, you better believe I recommend finding a way to reach this new audience.

Our local theatre performance center had a chat session during the Tonys.  I can envision local orchestras equally latching on to this opportunity by hosting Twitter chats or Facebook posts, etc.  Or, perhaps finding a way for the venue or artist to mention going to see a performance of a local orchestra.  If there is a will, there is a way.

Also, if there are local musicians performing, like there were on this concert, find a way to connect with them.  Perhaps they can be personality advocates for the orchestras in the area and reach the audience by tweeting what is it like to perform with someone like Peter Gabriel.  There are people in the audience that would enjoy getting this backstage perspective.

Lastly, I would recommend attending one of these events yourself and take notes as to how the concert is executed.  The orchestra world can learn a great deal from one of these concerts, as aforementioned.  Would it really hinder us to program new and interesting music that an audience can relate to and get excited about, and allow them to applaud when highly moved after a solo?  Mozart enjoyed it.

New audiences such as the ones that attend these types of concerts are ready and waiting if we find ways to reach them, but we must make the effort to reach them.  We could stand to shed our high orchestral ideals and learn from the world around us, even if it is outside of our genre.  Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra put on a concert that could teach us many lessons that are vastly needing to be learned.

If you would like a real review of the concert, click here! 

Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra recording Digging In The Dirt at Air from York Tillyer on Vimeo.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience Development and Classical Music concerts for newbies

I had a major thought today after reading another article about a symphony performing a free classical music concert mainly for audience development purposes.  The repertoire selected was the same old type of list: Barber of Seville, some poppy selections from South Pacific, some light operetta favorites.  Throw in pieces from Fantasia and it’s a wrap!

I agree that it is nice to choose pieces that might be familiar to people in order to get them interested in classical music.  However, if they are truly newbies to art music, go ahead and program an accessible newer piece!  Here’s my story:

I had invited a friend to a wind ensemble concert.  She had never heard a wind ensemble.  She said she was willing to give it a try.  She was familiar with a few pieces on the program, but the one she really liked was something she never heard before.  She ended up enjoying the concert mainly because of this piece.  My friend came with an open mind so it really didn’t matter if the selections were familiar, only that they were quality music performed well.

From this example, if a person truly is open and new to hearing classical music, then they will be open to hearing anything!  It’s similar to when someone hears classical music out of context, let’s say on a commercial, and they end up noticing and really digging the music.

The point is, we have an opportunity to play new music for new audiences!  We don’t have to keep performing the same, although pleasant, “gateway” pieces.  We can throw in an accessible newer piece too.  I caution with “accessible” since something outside of a new ear comfort zone could be a complete turn off.  There are pieces out there that can fit nicely into an audience development concert, even if it is for kids.

I hope the composers out there are jumping up and down.  This is an opportunity for you too.  What would you compose if faced with the challenge of creating for a brand new classical music audience?

Perhaps you might still fear the fact that if the music is unfamiliar, this new audience may not like the program.  Please do consider though that if it is truly a new experience, these people are open and ready to receive the best of what you can offer them, no matter what century the music comes from.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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Audience development and the passion behind the arts

This morning, I blog to you about something personal, as me, Shoshana, not as ADS.  While scanning articles this morning, I fell upon a delightfully charming concept in the The Atlantic:

How to Listen to Classical Music, and Enjoy It

This is the second post in a series by Benjamin F. Carlson. I can tell very much that this series is a labor of love for him, his attempt to share why classical music is worth listening to.

I saw the value of this type of format as an audience development tool, but you know what?  As I listened to the examples, something deeper happened.  I happen to be a musician myself.  With over 35 years of piano and  30 years of horn under my belt, I realized that sometimes it takes a little “music bath” to bring me back to the reality of why I chose to be a musician in the first place.

I spent some time freelancing in Chicago, going from gig to gig. I did get caught up at times with “how much are they paying and how long am I playing.”  I showed up to a gig, played, and went home.  I sometimes hear musicians gripe about the fact that we have a gig to go to.  We can get tired and crabby.  I wonder how this attitude can translate to the audience.

The point to all this is, sometimes as musicians (as artists), we forget the reason why we are playing in the first place.  Sometimes as artists (in general), we get caught up in the business aspects and forget the joy of our art.  I’m not saying that the business aspects are not important to consider, but do we want to treat our art as something as a means to an end or a means to a means?

When I read about artists that are connecting to audiences, I also see that most of these artists are displaying their passion for their art.  We are kidding ourselves to think that Beethoven played technically is the same as Beethoven played passionately.  We are kidding ourselves if we don’t realize that the audience can sense the difference too.

Maybe the core value to all of this is: it’s a little about what we present and how we present, but it is mainly about how we present our passion.  It is easy to get excited about art if the presentation is full of passion for the art. Maybe the decrease in patron support is a direct correlation to the decrease in passion?  Maybe we as artists need to become fully involved in our art again as the passionate artists our inner beings desire to be?

As I  took the time out to sit and listen to the examples of the post, while especially listening to the Beethoven Variations, I discovered tears were streaming down my face.  I had gotten in touch with the reason why I am a musician, why I chose to spend endless hours practicing, learning, and playing music.  I was, in a word, moved. Perhaps as artists, we need to take time on a regular basis to get in touch with the reason why we chose to become artists, and why we choose to share this passion with others.

If we don’t get in touch with this passion, and we blankly share art without it…well…what’s the point?  I highly encourage all artists to dive inward and find the reasons why they are artists.  Find what inspires you to feel that inner passion again.  The joy we feel will translate to our audience.  They will feel our joy – it’s contagious!  This is what art is about, the passion, the means to a means.

This weekend, I will be performing with the Colorado Wind Ensemble.  The music selections are old standards that are dusted off each summer.  Now that I have had my “music bath,” I will go into the performance with a more passionate attitude, be grateful that I am doing what I love to do, and play my bars and bars of after-beats with gusto!

Shoshana

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