The chamber music concert hall is like the space around a flame. In approaching this space, our minds awaken to ideas that would not have been possible without the prodding of sound and sight. The musical thoughts, flame of genius, of great minds spur us on to great thoughts of our own. We leap at the flame in order to give ourselves time to think. By choosing chamber music, we give ourselves the gift of a personal idea catalyst.
Music is an intimate phenomenon. Anyone who has struggled with arts marketing in any facet knows that music is not a necessity in our lives in the same way that food or housing are. We grapple with the luxury question. Do we choose to make music look accessible or elite? Do we try to make audiences feel like this is where the cool kids hang out? Or, do we appeal to the average Joe? Those who know music is necessary are already showing up. Those who do not already know that are not going to be convinced by your marketing campaign.
What is each audience member’s current necessity? They do not choose music, especially classical music performance, because they need it to live. But, will they?
Why chamber music? Because we need it to think deeply.
We live in a fascinating time. Most of us have the luxury and privilege to have our most basic needs met while barely batting an eyelash. Harder and more uncertain economic times may have opened our eyes to how unstable that reality may be. However, we are still lucky to be alive in this time period. Lucky because our greatest expectations are what we are able to do and create because of our abilities and access and not in spite of them. We, clearly, still have so much to do to make our society equitable in every corner. We have the means to pursue those goals. We have the artistic intelligence and creative drive to pursue those goals. We have a medium, music — its composition and performance, to pursue those goals.
Tuxes or jeans do not matter.
The space around a flame is the space between turbulence and order. Simply because we are lucky to live in this time does not mean that it is not deeply troubling and chaotic. Traditional places of order and ritual are rapidly declining in our society. The concert hall does not have to be one of those places. Sure, the packaging and the structures in which its performed may change wildly. Yet the content, sound ordered in time, stays the same. The tuxes or jeans do not matter. Honestly. It’s the feeling. The experience the audience gets of sound ordered in time. That order in the midst of chaos can provide a welcome relief. Who are the great thinkers of our time? Make a list in your mind. What if they attended your concert? Furthermore, what if during your concert they came up with their next big idea? Would that amplify your belief in the power of chamber music?
Every audience member is different.
We know the whys and wherefores behind those sounds. But, our audience doesn’t always want that. Let’s face it: every audience member is different and wants something different from the experience. Some audience members crave the exquisite technique, bold sounds, and intricacies of classical music. Others want escapism; well-soundtracked with aesthetically pleasing sounds. Chamber music can take one as far away from pressing concerns as they want or directly to the core of their innermost thoughts. It isn’t our place to judge the reasons why our audience interacts with music. It is our job to provide musical experiences. It is our job to provide the place where others can be with the thoughts that music inspires.
The world needs ideas.
We need chamber music because the most important thing we can offer the world now is good ideas. Better ideas than what has come before. Surrounded by thought leadership and the economy of ideas, our greatest gift is the space to think of life changing ideas. The chamber music concert hall, in whatever form, is and can continue to be that catalyst.
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