But music can change lives. It has thrilled mine. Music carries deep, otherwise-inexpressible meaning. 35,000 years ago our species was making music on a flute carved from a bird’s bone.
We are like Abraham, blessed beyond imagination. “Pray look toward the heavens and count the stars, can you count them? So shall your seed be.” Such is our inheritance with music. Not only its past, but its present and future have no limits as well.
Is music in danger of going away? Shall we shrink away because the economy, donations and audiences are down? No, we need music more than ever.
Wrestling with Reality
Should we play it safe, programming only popular blockbusters? I grieve when I hear classical music described as restful. Music is a place to come to grips with reality, like Jacob wrestling with God at his birth. Pardon the biblical references—but it’s that important.
We must be like Moses, challenging the people at Mt. Sinai. True marketers aren’t like Aaron asking, “How would you like your golden calf?” Seasons of greatest hits are today’s golden calf.
A Larger View of Marketing
Marketing classical music isn’t simply maximizing revenue and audiences. That’s the empty mantra of the least of today’s businesspeople. Marketers are not to be bellhops, an isolated function that sells tickets that’s down the hall and to the left. We are to join our performing and other managing colleagues as partners in helping to birth today’s music with its audiences.
We must follow the music, as Clive Gillinson of Carnegie Hall is fond of saying. And we must lead in reviving music. While the task looks daunting, we aren’t alone. The music itself—our audience’s response to it—is what drives participation, not our efforts. We’re midwives to attendance. We may lose heart at times, but the outcome isn’t in doubt. Music is eternal.