Young musicians today are eager to shake up the world of classical music. Not only do they see the traditional outlets of classical music drying up but many of them also feel a sense of mission around creating new possibilities for the music world. It is exciting to see what today’s music entrepreneurs are up to. Read on to see what is on their minds!
In my capacity as a coach and workshop leader, I have the pleasure of interacting with many talented young musicians who are eager to shake up the world of classical music. Not only do they see the traditional outlets of classical music drying up but many of them also feel a sense of mission around creating new possibilities for the music world.
This is what I am hearing.
In my workshops, for example, I help conservatory students to set goals and create career plans. I advocate setting inspiring career goals that reflect one’s passions, values and strengths in order to achieve authentic success. It is one of the first steps in becoming a music entrepreneur. So my first question to my students is:
What aspects of a music career are you passionate about?
These days, most students are excited by one or more of the following:
• Ensemble performing
• Collaborating with other artists
• New Creations
• Teaching (both institutional and private)
What thrills them is making music with other people and coming up with new structures and ways to connect with and engage audiences. Teaching is also very important as a way of passing along the knowledge to the next generation of artists and musicians. For many of them, “same old” is just plain boring. They aspire to something new.
Notice that solo performing is not at the top of the list. My informal surveys of musicians show that this is a big change from what students at the top conservatories aspired to 10 or more years ago.
I hear the same things from my private coaching clients. And I am encouraged to hear that so many young musicians are looking for opportunities to make music in a way that makes sense in the 21st century–another hallmark of being a music entrepreneur.
So what does “shaking up the world of classical music” look like in practical terms?
• Performances at new venues like Le Poisson Rouge
• Concerts with lots of audience interaction where the performer talks about the music and engages the audience both on an emotional and an intellectual level
• Master Classes that focus not only on performance techniques but also include psychology and practices from other fields
• Performers who commission composers to write for them in order to create a unique body of work
• Composers who write for particular artists in order to showcase the gifts of this performer, as well as present the authentic voice of the composer
• Composers who are committed to creating a new music vocabulary
• Arrangements for unusual ensembles to create new repertoire for these instruments.
These dedicated talented young people give me hope that there is a place for great music in our culture.
What’s your way of shaking up the music world? I would love to hear your ideas!
© Astrid Baumgardner 2010