Saturday, October 25, 2014

Developing the Audience by Reforming Music Education

“The crisis in classical music comes in important measure from obsessively narrow way we have trained musicians for more than two centuries,” wrote by the leading educator and musicologist, Robert Freeman. In his recently published book, The Crisis of Classical Music in America. Mr. Freeman mentions the issues classical musicians face today, including the declining interest of the population in attending performances and decreasing jobs in music area. These problems can be attributed from the old-fashioned music education, which involves intensive training for only a few children and a narrow focus on becoming a professional musician.

A child not being exposed to music at a young age is the reason for these issues, pointed by Peter Luff, Associate Principal French Horn for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. “It should be a right of kids to have music, and a responsibility of us to provide them with music,” said by Luff. That is why the OSQ devotes propagating the music and has been offering series of children’s concerts for many years.

There are three solutions, now in progress, which might improve these situations in classical music area today. First, a film for children, combining classical music, live action and cartoon, is being produced by the British Broadcasting Cooperation. “We hope that the project will inspire a generation of children to learn more about classical music,” said by Roger Wright, director of BBC Proms.

Second, extend the constructive ear training in primary school. The app, “Minute of Listening,” is used in the primary school of the United Kingdom. It collects many of one-minute-long sound and music such as, excerpts of pieces from classical music, or the sound of birdsong form the nature. The young students will obtain the progress and the knowledge of hearing by discussing and thinking about the detail of sound and music daily.

Moreover, attract new audiences by integrating the different area with music. For example, the upcoming concert of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Journey through the Cosmos, combines science and music for encouraging new audiences to attend the concert. It delivers the presentations by the British physicist Professor, Brian Cox, with Holst’s The Planets Suite and Marianelli’s Voyager Violin Concerto; the orchestra will play with big-screen video.

In my opinion, these prescient and meaningful ideas inspire me a lot. There is a close connection between popularizing the classical music and the population of audience. When we participate in music education for all children, we train not only the professional musicians, but also the well-educated audience, with interests in classical music and how to enjoy it. This concept might take one or two generations to be accomplished, but it is worthy to try.

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