I met with a Community and Education officer to hear about her busy life working for an orchestra.
Education and community work is a way in which orchestras reach out to a wider population. In a way, it answers my question of how to make classical music more engaging for a wider audience, though out of the concert setting.
They recognise that they may not be able to bring everyone into the concert hall, but are able to take classical music out into the community. At this particular orchestra, it is used to enlighten as well as further engage. Rather than the formal setting of a concert, the emphasis is bringing music into participants lives through active engagement and participation.
If successful, the orchestra believes that these music projects can:
a) dispel myths that classical music is scary
b) make classical music relevant to the participants lives
These projects lay the first ground work in introducing people to classical music, but what is the next step?
We reached the conclusion that people engage with music in different ways through out their lives. For example, young people tend to actively make music while older people tend to be happy to listen. This poses the difficult question of whether we should be bothering to encourage young people to listen to music? If they are more comfortable taking part, for example playing in an orchestra, why should we force them to attend a concert? This opens up questions of the value of listening.
However, I would argue that we need a new interactive form of listening that is equally engaging as playing an instrument. Do we need to teach children how to listen? I certainly need a course!