Sunday, October 26, 2014

Classical Music is late to the Tech Party

I've been thinking a lot recently about why classical music seems to be the last art form to look at how technology can help improve itself.  It not only seems that we are late to the party but that we are trying so hard to catch up that everything we do already seems dated.  The fact that we even question if we should have social media pages or Instagram accounts is a sign that we are behind.  I can understand why we are hesitant, the Internet is a scary place, technology moves incredibly quickly and we feel the loss of privacy.  I don't think that this needs to be the case.  I was at a concert a few nights ago and before the music started we were asked to take out our phones.  We were asked to take photos, tweet them, post them as well as hashtag certain phrases.  As I thought about what they were doing I felt it was to little to late.  They had to explain what hashtag meant and which sites they should post to.  I thought to myself that if this is how we are using technology we are so far behind that it wasn't even useful to use it.  We need to stop trying to play catch up and get on the forefront of how the world of tech is evolving and not wait till something is already popular to use it.  It is the same as when our parents joined onto Facebook and suddenly we felt the coolness of the site get sucked out with the click of accept.  We are the parents signing onto Facebook to look cool when that is the last thing we are.  It is not that I feel we need to alienate older audience because that is far from my point.  It is that we need to start using technology for what it is, which is cutting edge. 

The article I read that made me think even more about this was and article by Xeni Jardin "a tech-culture journalist and co-editor of the collaborative Weblog BoingBoing."  She spoke of how Houston Grand Opera is using streaming technology to reach a larger audience and trying to show how hip and cool they have become to attract larger audiences.  The very idea of that sends shivers down my spine. I think its great to have that in our arsenal of tactics to keep audiences but I do not feel it brings them in as much as we think that it does.  While looking in on a streaming of a dress rehearsal is fascinating for me I do not believe it does the same for people new to opera.  Also, selling it as approachable to younger audiences does the opposite to them.  If opera companies started to work closer with start up tech companies we might see some really cool and cutting edge creations come out of that collaboration instead of being late to the party. 

Click here for the full article

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