Reviews - Classical vs Pop

Greg Sandow brings an interesting viewpoint to the division between classical and pop music - the review. In his blog for 26 June, he compares two reviews, one for pop music and one for classical music. He presents the idea that pop reviews are more interesting (at least that's how I read his post).

In writing classes they say "write to your audience" and I suppose a classical reviewer is looking at their audience as being the older, probably more educated (at least in terms of classical music education) and more affluent, where as a pop reviewer is trying to reach the masses. And typically that's what he crowds are. Occasionally you'll get concerts "in the park" where popular classical tunes are played and fireworks are let lose which bring out the families. But generally, classical concerts are filled with an aging crowd, a crowd that is not necessarily replenishing itself - and part of this is due to the perception that classical music is stuffy, old and unless you're really "into it" boring.

How do we change this, how do we encourage reviewers that the audience is more than just the narrow band of classical music lovers?

Comments said…
If classical music audiences shrivel and die then so be it - the market place has spoken. We can't complain about this state of affairs when school music programs are being cut left and right.

I propose we make music education available in the private sector where we can teach communities of children and adults (as well as 6-12-ers) to be smarter and more discerning consumers. I think we'd see stronger sales of all types of music across the board.
Chip said…
I definitely agree with support for music education. Anyone who looks at what's happening in Venezuela's music program can see how much it's benefiting the students, society and the world (as their youth orchestra is astounding to see live).

Scotland and Brazil are hoping to start similar programs.

The US will have a new President in January. Maybe he will opt for an increase in arts in schools on just this very premise. said…
I think we need to privatize music education rather than rely on government funding for sustenance. Music is a several billion dollar industry in the US, there is plenty of room for everyone to capitalize on its appeal. If done correctly, music educators will be compensated accordingly like those working in other similar discilplines (law, medicine etc.). Then and only then, should government step in to help those who want but cannot afford to access music education.

I'm not surprised that Venezuela's program is popular there - what else do they have? The US has at its means both the best technological infrastructure (the web) and the entrepreneurial spirit to make things happen to the benefit of music educators and music enthusiasts alike.

Let's not rely on the next president, whoever he is, to complicate a problem that can be fixed ourselves.
Chip said…
While I take your point on not wanting to rely on who's next in office, I guess I'm looking back on a childhood where music was an integral part of my public education and yet practically non-existent in that of my children.

More than 80% of the US children are still educated in public schools, so it only seems logical that a focused approach on the 80% is a good place to start (80-20 rule). It is possible that public schools could look to private funding, or private funding could work toward funding public education - but that's the infrastructure that currently exists and wouldn't require a great deal to implement a change in focus toward music/arts education.

Also consider, whoever is next in the Oval Office will set the tenor as to where public AND private funding is spent. So, if the President is behind more education in the arts, both public and private funding in this direction will increase. Eight years ago Bush said he was all for education, but his policies and focus never coinsided to benefit the arts and so funding in both sectors dried up - thus the problem we have today.

Ultimately what I am suggesting is someone to lead the charge - and then others (both public and private) to follow the banner. said…
Good thoughts Chip. I guess I think we can make more of a difference if we begin looking at the big picture and put more effort into addressing 100% of music enthusiasts in the world rather than a small percentage of K-12ers.

I think the market is out there. People of all ages are spending billions on music, music related products and instruments and here we are training future music educators to work in band, choir and orchestra programs that reach a small percentage of that population at best. All the while we have to beg, borrow and fund-raise just to keep the status quo...and we're losing that battle too.

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