This blog started out as a way for me to write about music.
Specifically, it was a way for me to express myself outside of the ‘classical’ music world. I’ve rebelled against what I view as the confines of that world since I was a college junior.
I dig music, period.
In the end, being limited to a narrow definition of classical music as an on-air host felt constrictive. I tried to bring in other connections, which I think was my strength, but it was a battle. Some of my risks failed…but there was success as well.
Then, as a program director, I saw the challenges classical music faces on the air. Too many hosts, pd’s, and producers have been having the same conversation for 20 years. It basically revolves around whether or not pieces like a Bruckner symphony belong on the air in the middle of the day.
While the industry argued, the relevance of western art music continued to fade. News and information relevant to people’s lives replaced classical music slots in many markets. At WEKU, we laid the groundwork for that transition to occur, and it has since I left.
NPR’s classical music blog, deceptive cadence, asked the question sometime last last month: How do we ‘fix’ classical music?
There were some excellent answers, and I’m not sure my opinion means much, but for me, it’s about relevance.
As long as we delude ourselves with the term ‘classical music’ – which is inaccurate and stuffy-sounding, we are in a box of our own design. One that divides listeners into camps – on one hand – those who obsess about opus numbers and saying “Bach” like a native german speaker would.
On the other side are listeners and potential listeners who are want to connect with it, but don’t, because the whole thing seems intimidating. (If you don’t know the secret code words, like idiomatic, programmatic or absolute music, you just aren’t smart enough).
For every one of the former, there are hundreds of the latter – everyday people who know music has the power to transform and transcend daily life (.wav file).
Music makes our lives better. I for one, believe starting with that in mind would go a long way toward inviting more people into the world of ‘classical’ music.
Whatever it is.