Thursday, June 7, 2012

Narcissist or Enthusiast: Is My Promotion of Classical Music Self-Serving?

A line from the film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992) comes to mind: "Does the word "duh" mean anything to you?"


Yes, unabashedly my promotion of classical music is very self-serving. Not only am I a passionate admirer of classical music, but I am a composer who writes for orchestras and classical chamber ensembles. The better the classical industry does, the more likely I am to get my pieces played. There is no doubt that some of my passionate promotion of the art form has a personal agenda.


However, I often tweet or post on Facebook concerts or conversations from orchestras I have no personal stake in. Many of the musicians I converse with over social media are not currently performing my music nor do they have plans to do so in the foreseeable future. Very little of what I write about on this blog is even indirectly related to potential future income. Most of it is just "getting the word out" --a very important task in my opinion.


Yesterday I posted about "How to Get More People to Listen to Classical Music" where I speak about the need of musicians to get out and spread the word. I feel it's important to take that sentiment to heart. Musicians and ensembles everywhere need to not just talk about what they're doing, but talk up friends and associates endeavors as well.


In another blog post i discuss, "How is TwtrSymphony Getting so much Attention." One of the hallmarks of the publicity campaign for the orchestra is to spend as much time talking about the individual projects of the musicians as it does talking about itself. We notice a decided knock-on effect: talking about the musicians within the orchestra is a round about way of talking about the orchestra. Advertising a CD release from a musician whose recording was done with another ensemble, or talking up an e-book released by one of our musicians does nothing for TwtrSymphony's bottom line. What it does do is help introduce us as individuals and makes the people we're talking about want to talk about us more. the more interesting we are as a group and as individuals, the more talk we engender.


Have you read the Facebook and Twitter feeds of the London Symphony and the London Philharmonic orchestras? If so, you'll know both of these organizations spend a fair amount of time talking up the other. While both orchestras are competing for the same audience, they seem to be very aware that a healthy classical music interest in London benefits both organizations. Nashville Symphony and Boston Symphony spend about 10-15% of their online 'chatter' talking about what's going on with other orchestras. Again, these organizations realize the importance of spreading the news about what's happening in the classical music scene. The healthier the scene is, the more we all benefit.


So, while there is an element of narcissism in my "shout out's" for my classical music friends, the Friday Follows on Twitter, blog posts and other online noise I make, the end goal is to build enthusiasm for classical music. I am passionate about classical music. If you're passionate about classical music, spread the word!

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