Alexandra Coghlan’s Spectator piece last week has prompted a bit of thought.
I’ve seen contacts of mine (marketing types) applaud it. Conversely, it’s prompted a discussion amongst fellow audience members that defends the concert-going experience.
I’ve hesitated from writing in response to it for 24 hours or so, just to get my own head around where I stand on the subject.
As you might expect, I’ve got a slightly different view.
The ‘Wasted Opportunity’
In case you’ve not read it, Alexandra’s thought-provoking piece flags a couple of negative concert-going experiences. She’s right to adopt a big picture view – looking on these two concerts from the perspective of the events as entertainment destinations.
That’s valuable because if people who are distracted by a myriad of entertainment opportunities are to feel tempted to listen to live classical music, then the destination needs to be appealing and welcoming offer.
In this way, everything about the concert-going experience should be under scrutiny – front of
Like Alexandra, I’ve also attended concerts where the musicians appear less than enthused to be on the platform. Sometimes the standard of the performance is under-par. In some cases I’ve left a concert feeling mildly dissatisfied; in others sufficiently motivated to pen a blog post about it.
Acknowledging imperfection helps us appreciate what’s involved
Funnily enough, I’m not especially bothered by what goes on on the platform. Here might be where
Whilst I might feel disappointed about a sub-par performance, or a string section not smiling at the audience at the end of the gig, there is an authenticity to the experience that serves to illustrate just exactly what is involved in putting on such a performance.
I revel in the serendipity of live performance. If an audience isn’t attentive, for example, then that’s not because they’re unruly, but because there wasn’t magic in the room, so to speak. That doesn’t make the experience any less valuable. It illustrates just how miraculous live performance really can be. Concert going cannot be manufactured. That’s what makes concerts strangely addictive.
On perfection, context, and uniformity
Similarly, I don’t need context. So programme notes aren’t necessarily vital. I used to feel like I needed an explanation as to what I was sat listening to. Now I’m quite happy to avoid a programme note and approach the experience with nothing more than curiosity. Such personal listening strategies are of little value to a marketing person who
And perhaps the oddest insight I can share about my concert-going experience (assuming you haven’t already
And in a similar vein, I like the differing audience groups I come into contact with in the concert hall. I’ve said before on this blog, that its one of the rare places where such a mix of different ages occurs. I think we overlook that.
Different people have different expectations in the concert hall and I celebrate the fact that those different expectations won’t always match mine. That’s another reason why the concert venue (whether it be a hall, church, recital room or a pub) is a difficult place to market.
We need to be on our guard. We need to remember that a range of people come to the concert for a variety of different reasons. What works for others may not work for me. In striving to connect with a new audience I wonder whether we sometimes overlook the existing one.