Friday, June 22, 2007

Really Old People: Can They Get a Clue? is hosting a public discussion of the following:
The ways in which people are accessing and interacting with art are changing. Suddenly the traditional rules don't seem to apply, and people are demanding different things from artists and art institutions. So what do these changes mean and how do the traditional arts adapt to them?

Nick and I have been following this conversation because we have been asking ourselves the same question. We've tossed around all sorts of ideas about what our orchestra members want and need--what will engage them in the orchestra, make them eager to come to rehearsal. In the years to come, these students will make up both the membership and the audience of the classical ensembles of their communities. If we can't convince them that this kind of music is worth their time now, it's unlikely they'll change their mind in the future.

Both of us came to the same conclusion at the same time. Why don't we just ask the kids?

So I will do that informally now and we'll ask more formally later. If you could design the perfect youth orchestra, what would it look like? What music would it play? Where would it perform?
Do you want to see your performances on YouTube or available as a ringtone? Cuts from rehearsals in a podcast?
What do you think would be the best way for a youth orchestra to serve the community?

Nick and I are really old. The connections we have with young musicians are through our own children and our jobs. We are 'early adopters' and try to pay attention to what's going on. But we know we don't really have a clue. So it's your job to fill us in. Any time. All the time. Don't be afraid to tell us we're idiots or insane! We suspect as much already!

Here's a great quote from Laura Jackson in the above discussion:

Take risks and have the courage to try new things. Even if they seem ridiculous to some of us or scandalously irreverent, we can only learn from trying. More importantly, we need to allow others in the field to do the same without an instantaneous negative judgment that shuts off opportunity. I admit that I will need to remind myself of this more often than most; more than once, I found myself cringing while reading the suggestions bloggers put forth for changes in the listening experience.

Trying new things also means giving them a chance to thrive with the full support of our institutions, from marketing to artistic, education to development. We must commit whole-heartedly and go for it. If a new idea is not an instant hit, we shouldn't automatically discard it either. Some of our confusion about the success of something may come from doing without the nurturing process of evaluation and improvement. Rather than just trying another experiment if instant success is not ours, we must learn from our attempts and try to refine our experiments to reach success.

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