Reaching out, classically, to the young | The Salt Lake Tribune

Interesting article on music education. The ideas quoted below are from the article -

Reaching out, classically, to the young | The Salt Lake Tribune.

The approach suggested here is for age 12 and up. Younger children may need a different approach.

“The important thing is that you have to reach people their way,” said Crystal Young-Otterstrom, the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera organization’s audience-development manager. “You can’t reach all people the same way.”

The barrier to getting young people to attend the symphony and opera is simple, Young-Otterstrom believes: If they feel they don’t understand any part of the concert — and are unable to share the experience with similarly aged people — they won’t go.

The symphony’s youth-oriented marketing approach is the polar opposite of the infamous answer Thomas “Fats” Waller gave when asked to define rhythm: “Lady, if you got to ask, you ain’t got it.”

Rhythm is just one of the things that Cho will explain to families on April 27, accompanied by the symphony orchestra. He will isolate and highlight important elements of the Fifth Symphony, and provide insight into the fundamental elements of classical music, such as melodies, themes, instrumentation choices, structure and form. In addition, he’ll provide historical and biographical information about Sibelius and his world-view.

Cho has an easy explanation about why this composer was chosen: “I’m a Sibelius nut,” he said. He likened the three-movement piece to a “beautiful forest” that threatens to overwhelm a visitor. But the score’s narrative structure, brilliant motifs and emotive themes eventually lead the visitor out of the forest to safety and solace.

The annual “Cho’s Anatomy” concert is just one of US | UO’s extensive educational outreach programs that promoters claim reach 160,000 students annually.

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4 comments for “Reaching out, classically, to the young | The Salt Lake Tribune

  1. September 14, 2010 at

    Hi David,

    Interesting article. My feeling is that the degree of detail Cho is going to go into is excessive. Too much like a music history or theory lesson. Might be more appropriate for Julliard's evening adult sessions.

    Kids could get into the music by visualizing pictures or clapping funky rhythms. Rather than addressing "melodies, themes, instrumentation choices, structure and form" as well as "historical and biographical information about Sibelius and his world-view," why not get everybody to sing the tunes, clap the rhythms, listen to a few instruments playing themes, and leave it at that? Tell them where Sibelius is from, show them slides or a video.

    Covering all the info mentioned in the article would take a very long time. Hearing the music is more important, and more fun, too.

    Don't "structure and form" sound boring to you? Just saying.


    • September 14, 2010 at

      Hi Gretchen,

      I guess it all depends on how it is conveyed. With lots of energy and examples and anecdotes it could work. But I agree w you on the surface that it certainly sounds as if it would be boring.


  2. September 14, 2010 at

    Hey David, thanks for posting this article. However, I don't think I agree with it. Ironically I posted my thoughts on introducing classical music to kids on my website last Friday. Check it out and let me know your thoughts on it:

    And sorry- I don't mean to hijack your post but I am interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks!

    • September 14, 2010 at

      No problem John. You didn't hijack anything! D I welcome your opinion. I liked your article. That's more how I would approach things for very young children. Thanks for pointing me to it. I think the Utah program is geared toward a bit older kids, over 12.

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