She had previously had lots of teaching and workshop experience before working at the BBC Proms as learning and audience development administrator which then led onto her job of Learning Assistant at BBC Symphony Orchestra. Inspiringly, she is currently taking a part-time one day a week course at Goldsmiths to train as an animateur, which she hopes will help her career development.
When asked how successful music outreach is at introducing people to classical music and to the concert, she explained that is the process that participants go through is equally as important as inspring them to attend a concert.
However, there are a number of scheme and events to help introduce new-comers to the concert, such as the Out and About Prom at Westfield (reviewed here) and family introductions at the Proms as well as free Proms. Interestingly, her opinion has changed favourably about the Westfield event though crucially it presents serious music and maintains its quality, though in an alternative venue.
Amazingly, they managed to get 100 children to attend a concert where Stockhausen was programmed, as they were involved in the pre-concert performance. As they had to be there anyway, it was easier to get the families to attend the concert even though the programme was rather hard-core. It was a valuable lesson for the children in the way they formed an opinion of Stockhausen’s music, even if they didn’t choose to hear it again.
We discussed a number of issues in relation to encouraging people to attend a concert. The key factors identified included:
- Familiarity of venue
- Ease of getting tickets
- Perceived cost of attending
However, cheap or free tickets can cause problems in themselves. Classical music is relatively cheap in relation to other events and there is the problem this can de-value the event itself. Also there is the logistical issue of people not turning up on the day if they have booked a free ticket, as they do not make the same commitment to attending the concert. Also it can be problematic if an audience always associates a venue with free tickets, as if they know they can come for free they won’t buy tickets.