Author(s): Melissa C. Dobson
Publisher: Journal of New Music Research, 39:2, 111-124
Exploring the assumptions and experiences of audience members new to classical music holds the potential to increase our understanding of why individuals attend classical concerts—and, importantly, why they do not. Building on an earlier study by B.M. Kolb (Kolb , B. M. 2000 . ‘You call this fun? Reactions of young first-time attendees to a classical concert’ . Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association, 1 ( 1 ) : 13 – 28 ) , nine culturally-aware participants (aged 24–36) with little or no experience of classical concerts were invited to attend three orchestral concerts at London venues.
Data from focus group and individual interviews revealed that feelings of inclusion and participation in the performances were important predictors of the participants’ enjoyment of the concert experience. The use of embedded information (e.g. spoken introductions from the stage) played a significant role in enhancing the participants’ understanding of the events and developing a valued sense of performer–audience rapport. The implications of these findings for orchestras and concert organizations are considered.
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