Does classical music need an overhaul? Join the discussion with prominent musicians like guitarist Jason Vieaux by leaving your thoughts in the comments section.
courtesy of the artist
Guitarist Jason Vieaux would love to play more new works for guitar.
Guitarist Jason Vieaux would love to play more new works for guitar. courtesy of the artist
To increase our market share of concert ticket sales and record purchases in the U.S. (classical music earns only about 4 percent of recording sales today), the classical music community needs to continue to invest heavily in outreach and education for young people.
There are scores of young American classical musicians from middle-class families, who attended public schools, had to get a job in high school in order to pay for their Ford Pinto, etc. Many of these musicians certainly should be able to relate to kids in public school systems today. They should be able to execute entertaining and educational presentations that connect the study of a musical instrument to the development of essential life skills, such as organization, self-discipline, diligence, leadership, and reliability. It's a long-term investment, but one that I think could actually increase the number of classical music consumers 20 – 30 years from now. And heck, it may even send out a few more well-rounded and responsible citizens into the world.
And from my end, it wouldn't hurt to have more new works performed at large venues that target young audiences. The guitar, for example, is in a unique position today, in that young people relate to it more than any other instrument practiced in the U.S. The Guitar Hero video game is proof of that.
I'd love to perform more pieces — large and small — with exciting new instrumental combinations and sounds, written by talented, communicative composers. Only through outreach to kids will that wish come true.
What do you think about music education today? Please leave us your thoughts in the comments section.
Jason Vieaux records for the Azica label and heads the guitar department at the Cleveland Institute of Music.