Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Groupmuse" and a sense of kinship I descovered

A few couple posts back I wrote about the group "Classical Revolution."  I wondered if there was already an equivalent here in Boston, which might partly explain why they've had more difficulty getting established here.  Well, it appears that there is something similar.  It's a local startup called Groupmuse.
I found this article, which gives a good description of what they do and some information about the founder Sam Bodkin.

The Groupmuse website is:

Some interesting notes:  It focuses on house concerts.  It is for profit.  Bodkin "is not a performer and has minimal musical training."

This last part is the most interesting to me.  It really speaks to a point brought up earlier in the article:
"The prevailing view is that young adults lack the knowledge needed to appreciate classical music and are turned off by the perceived stodginess of the concert hall. So the solution is to tempt them back into the hall through a few concessions—say, free drinks and a relaxed dress code—and then educate them in music appreciation and ultimately socialize them into the concert hall culture."
It then goes on to describe how Bodkin disagrees with this view.  While I am a musician currently studying in grad school, I feel akin to Bodkin in the way he appreciates classical music.  I too find this "prevailing view" very foreign and strange because I have never come to enjoy a piece of music (or entire genre) any more or any less through becoming educated on it.  It wasn't until after I had developed a love for classical music that I started finding out much about the theory (my theory education was very delayed).  I really can't imagine what it would be like to find that I actually enjoyed listening to something more because I'd learned something about the theoretical constructs that were in the composer's mind while writing it, or that had been used by those analyzing the music.  That seems to be aside the point of whether or not the piece is enjoyable.  For me, something  just seems very artificial about needing to be taught to like something.
In my experience, the inquiry into theory has always come from already liking the music and wanting to understand some logic associated with the parts that were still mysterious to me, so that I could incorporate them into my own expressive language for my own composition. Now, that's just me speaking as a composer, but the main point is that it wasn't understanding that lead me to love classical music, new art music, jazz or any other genre.  It was just exposure and growth as a person so that I became receptive to more, and different, kinds of expression.
I wonder if this works the same for many other people.
Apparently, even with a for-profit model, Sam Bodkin is having a good degree of success with young audiences.  I don't know what percentage of this audience tends to be highly educated musicians, but just hearing about Sam himself brings me joy.

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