Engaging Audiences with Classical Music Apps

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18553500_56bf1773e3_oWith the proliferation of digital music, MP3 players and streaming audio services like Spotify, enjoying music is increasingly becoming a personalized, solo activity. The shared experience of gathering around a living-room radio or TV or attending a professional concert could be replaced by private “concerts” tailored by each listener and delivered via headphones — hopefully at an unobtrusive volume level!

Education Correlation
How can performance venues that feature classical music compete for attention and audience members? Many people claim a correlation between music education and music attendance. It’s logical that people who perform and understand music are more likely to attend a live performance.

Frozen Masterpieces?
Other concert promoters emphasize the beauty of time-honored classics like a Beethoven symphony or Bach concerto, considering them masterpieces frozen in time to be preserved for future generations…but dusted off every few years.

iPod blackPersonal Experimentation
Writing in a recent Wall Street Journal article (8/29/13), author Stuart Isacoff describes new apps for Apple mobile devices that he believes could help fuel a resurgence in classical audiences. For example, the digital developer Touch Screen launched an app in May that enables users to explore Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — watching four different recordings, enabling conductor comparisons, and reading insights and analysis from artists and music critics. The app has been downloaded more than 620,000 times. Another app — The Orchestra — includes eight works and provides an onscreen keyboard for personal experimentation.

Slicing & Dicing
Along with offering content-rich interpretations, background and photos of composers and instruments, these apps empower and encourage users to actively control their own musical experience – slicing and dicing, mixing and re-mixing. For a generation accustomed to such personalized, fingertip control, these apps may play a vital role in promoting and sustaining classical music’s relevance.

What do you think? How can new technology help reach audiences?

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