How to get a twenty-something in the concert hall

Amanda Ameer’s informal research project doesn’t really give any startling new answers the question of marketing to the “younger demographic”, but it is is interesting nonetheless.

As a twenty-something myself, I have a few thoughts.

It is interesting to me that we often cite the price of the ticket as the reason why we aren’t attending arts events. But Ameer’s pal’s admit that they spend $40-$100 on a night out, and even in a city like Minneapolis that isn’t too far from accurate. Even a night at my favorite dive bar can rack up a pretty quick tab–especially when happy hour runs out. So the conclusion seems to usually be that we have the money to spend, but its other factors holding us back: the unfamiliarity, the stuffy atmosphere, the associations with classical music…

We spend our money on social activities. And I appreciate the point that it’s not enough to slap on an under-30 party to a regular performance. My instinct is (and I think I just wrote about this on here a little bit ago) that the actual content of a classical music concert needs to change.

But here it gets iffy for me. Because we can’t completely throw out the traditions of classical music (or to avoid the T-word, let’s say: everything that makes classical music great) in favor of marketable programming. Bars have their reason for existing. Concert halls have theirs. Do they have to be drastically different? No. But would it be that bad if they ended up being not so dissimilar.

And this brings me to me to another new music rant. A “classical concert” (or opera, or dance performance or anything) should be about the performance, because that’s what makes it unique. But hasn’t anyone thought that music composed by a twenty-something (and a twenty-something who is still a twenty-something) might speak to twenty-somethings? You can glitz up Mozart all you want with a pre-party, intermission specials, lots of entertaining insight into the music, stylish-hip advertising, all of that… but when it comes down to it, some people just don’t want to hear Mozart. And if we try to sex it up, then we’re going to create a culture of citizens who “love” Mozart for all the wrong reasons.

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~ by ohactually on July 23, 2008.

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