From Green Room to Reality: Why Orchestras Need to Go Undercover

In my recent reflections, spurred by my own experiences with buying tickets (at full price, not comps!) for various events, I’ve come to a realization that might resonate deeply with those of us in the orchestra industry: we need to step out of our familiar world and experience what it’s like to be our own patrons. Walk in Their Shoes Imagine this: as a musician or someone deeply involved with an orchestra, you decide to purchase tickets for an orchestra performance. You navigate the (sometimes) cumbersome online ticketing process, figure out the … Continue Reading

Don’t Patronize Our Future Patrons: Empowering Children in Classical Music: Part 2

Empowering children in classical music experiences requires more than just opening the doors to the concert hall; it demands thoughtful and tailored programming that resonates with children of all ages…and their parents! Tailoring Experiences for Children of All Ages Children encompass a wide range of ages, from the very young to adolescents, each with their own unique needs, interests, and capacities for engaging with classical music. Recognizing this variety is paramount in designing programs that resonate with children across different developmental stages. For younger children, interactive and hands-on experiences are essential in … Continue Reading

Don’t Patronize Our Future Patrons: Empowering Children in Classical Music: Part 1

As I read through comments from my previous post about the idea of free tickets for kids at symphony concerts, I noticed that many assumptions about kids’ ages, expectations, and experiences were often shaped by personal biases rather than personal experiences. For instance, some suggested designing special concerts for children, overlooking the fact that such events already exist. Other suggestions included tailoring programs or adding entertainment to regular concerts to accommodate children’s attention spans. In my experience, such approaches often result in mere placation, and children can sense it. Automatically assuming what … Continue Reading

The Power of Free Tickets for Kids

I’ve never been a fan of complementary (comp) tickets for orchestra concerts. I’ve written about that extensively and still firmly believe that having a value attached to a ticket purchase is good for the organization. Here’s what I wrote in 2018 about the comp situation: “Comp tickets are a bad habit! They are continually justified by people in the orchestra industry because: We want a full hall, no matter how. If people like this concert, surely, they will pay for the next. Comps are basically like a musician’s privilege or benefit; musicians … Continue Reading

Breaking the Clapping Trap: Building Bridges, Not Setting Traps

“I didn’t even know what a ‘movement’ was.” My mom said as she recalled the time she took my brother and me to our family’s first symphony concert. Here’s the horror story in my mom’s words: “We arrived early so we could direct the kids to the front row where we assumed they would have the best view. But all they could see was the conductor and a few violins and cellos. By the time we figured this out, the auditorium had filled and the music had begun. When the orchestra stopped … Continue Reading