In my last post I promised to share what it is that I feel I need to try but that honestly intimidates me. You see…
I believe that classical music is still relevant, even outside of the often associated affluent, cultured upper-class, and I believe that choosing a career in music can still be a viable and lucrative choice.
In order for these things to continue to be true, those of us in the classical music industry need to take a serious look at what we are doing and make some changes. If we believe that what we do is relevant to those in the middle and lower classes, then we need to work on changing our perception and possibly even our branding. We need to look at our programming and the amount of audience interaction in our programs. We need to do more community outreach instead of hoping that the community will come to us. If we believe that a career in music is still a viable option for up-and-coming musicians then we need to see if our current models of education and training are adequately preparing them for their careers.
There a lot to think about and unpack in there. I don’t have all of the answers. But I feel these questions tugging for my attention. It’s daunting. It seems that our society places so little value as a whole in what I do that it could never change. But…I won’t know until I try. Of course, trying this on the national level would be discouraging and most likely impossible. But I can start where I am. Can classical music become relevant in Southeast Kentucky? Can my school have a thriving program that produces really strong musicians from the Appalachian area? Half of me is not sure. It seems too far removed from what is valued and understood here. But the other half of me really believes that the borders that separate people who love classical from those who don’t don’t really exist. Music and humanity cannot be separated. No human is immune from the touch that music can have on the soul. If classical music has the power that I believe that it does, then it can thrive anywhere with the right cultivation. So, while I am not (and may never be) sure that it can happen here any more than I am sure that it can happen across the nation, I sure am going to try. It won’t happen any less if I don’t try, but if I do, I might see more results that I expect.
What about you? Is there something you feel that you should try to tackle but aren’t sure if you can? Give it a try. You may just surprise yourself.