How To Make Classical Music Accessible

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Chamber Music By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Music » Chamber Music
Last updated: 12/03/2018
Tags: classical music, music education, symphony orchestra, viola, violin

The symphony orchestra, as an antiquated model created centuries ago, has been pressured into modernizing itself in order to stay afloat as an institution in our contemporary society. This adaptation process reacts to a world where technological advances have shaped the way our society functions in a wide range of forms. Why would people pay to go to a symphony orchestra concert, when there are plenty of high quality recordings available? Nowadays people are able to immediately access their favorite music via DVDs, CDs, radio, television and Internet. If music is the main product, which ways could it be more successfully presented in order for the symphony orchestra to maintain a sustainable model?

Fortunately, music cannot only be used for auditory pleasure, but for other different purposes. These include but are not limited to: increasing education, improving personal experiences, and using it for health related issues. I strongly advocate for music as an educational tool, which fosters the development of cognitive abilities and empowers the youth in improving their futures and becoming better human beings. I have experienced first hand the impact music can have, especially in targeted, impoverished communities. This past summer I worked for 6 weeks with 4 different music schools in Haiti. Some of the children over there came from difficult and unfortunate living situations. Playing music proved to be a way for them to learn skills that will contribute in paving a better road towards their future.

I believe every musician is a musical ambassador, who in these days takes advantage of the increasing globalization in order to bring people together. By connecting people, music breaks with the stereotypical racial, socio-economic and political barriers that keep our world swamped in continuous unresolved conflicts. As a member of an orchestra, I would encourage partnerships with "Sistema" inspired projects, school districts, and music schools all over the world. Our genre of music has ceased being reserved just for the elite. We can use it for the many benefits it brings, while planting the seeds for future generations and maintaining the great musical tradition alive.

Another aspect of symphony orchestras to pay attention to, is the concert situation. Improving the concert experience would definitely lead to an increase in ticket sales and popularity in the community. I believe it shouldn't be frowned upon for audiences to wear less formal clothing for concerts. The same goes for us the musicians, which wear very uncomfortable suits. Some of these formalities are good, but sometimes they create a wider gap in between the musicians and the audience. This doesn't contribute to making people have personal and strong connections to the music. In order to better this, I think musicians should address the audience members by talking before concerts, thus giving context surrounding the music that people can associate with. A hundred years ago, if you wanted to hear music, you had to go to a concert. These days we just use technological means to immediately access whatever we want. Symphony orchestras have to sell concert experiences, not just music anymore.

The repertoire choice could be chosen with more flexibility, taking into account that the concert experience is possible in different settings. There is so much fantastic music out there that has never been played. We should bring out these hidden gems in the concert programs, while combining it with contemporary music of living composers. We have to reinvent the experience so that going to a concert becomes more worry free, non-awkward and enjoyable. Using technology in our favor is also one of the best ways to increase awareness and expand the audience base. A musician being involved in social media on behalf of the orchestra creates friendly access for other people to enter the world of a symphony orchestra.

Musicians are agents of culture, peace, emotions and intellect. If a musician embodies these characteristics, he/she will serve as inspiration to others within the community, and therefore create value in the society. Cultural tradition is great, but in this globalized world, we must thrive to respect and enjoy discovering our cultural differences instead of becoming hostile towards foreign traditions. As an inherent human creation, music surpasses all barriers and should encourage fraternity and brotherhood among all people, regardless of the many cultural backgrounds we may have.

We must keep the tradition alive, while adapting and reinventing the way in which we present our musical product to the audiences. I firmly believe in experimenting with all the before mentioned aspects, and ideally come up with more. It is by "trial and error" that we can discover what is best and what is not.

Usman Peguero Classical Violin Teacher (Bromley)

About The Author

I am an experienced and enthusiastic teacher, who prioritises the specific needs of each student in order to pursue their goals in a fun and creative style.

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