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Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Audience

Mike Lawson • Archives • February 5, 2007

The Shining Eyes report indicates that there are large numbers of adults who had “some interest in classical music, although less than five percent actually attended concerts by their local symphony orchestra.” The single most important variable in the report that predicted future attendance at classical music performances was previous instrumental or choral training. In 74 percent of the cases studied, ticket-holders had been involved in a school choir, band, or orchestra. This research helps to validate the theory that many of us have held for many years that when you sing or play an instrument, you develop an appreciation of the melodies, harmonies, technique, and musicality that it takes to enjoy a classical performance. It helps to develop your ear as a critical listener and also exposes you to a wide variety of different styles of music, of which a large portion is usually classical. It only makes sense that the natural understanding is for a player to become a listener (while hopefully remaining a player as well).

As educators, we hold the keys to the future of our own performing art. Our students are the most likely candidates to not only attend future concerts but also to become future monetary supporters of the arts as they become non-musical and musical professionals in their chosen fields. The more we can encourage concert attendance, the greater the likelihood of a brighter future for classical music.

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