I've been thinking especially about the accessibility of classical music over the past few days. It's a topic that comes up with a fair amount of frequency at my job, when I discuss what I do with coworkers. Recently, after inviting a coworker to a performance of opera scenes, I was met with the exclamation, "I've always wanted to see an opera!"
Though I hear this type of response often (and I was happy at her enthusiasm), this made me wonder for a moment. Even in a city like Boston, where classical performances are widely available, I know many people who feel it's inaccessible to them. Granted, a large part of the "I've always wanted to..." answers I hear are probably politeness, but nonetheless, the fact that classical music is a foreign world to many people remains.
It's a feeling I understand--until I was taught music, much of the classical world seemed overwhelming and strange to me (sometimes it still does!)
I'm not sure this is a problem that can be easily or wholly fixed in such a world of consumerist music, as Healing the Rift describes. People listen to music differently now than they did one hundred years ago, and the perception of classical music has changed in part simply because it's difficult to enjoy it in the same manner as popular music. The bigger question is: do we want the way we listen to classical music to change in the name of accessibility?
In the meantime, I'll hope my coworkers really do enjoy the opera!
Thanks, all, for a thought-provoking class.