Our final Regenerate Series event of 2021 took place on Thursday 30 September, when we were joined by a panel of young people to discuss how the sector can engage the streaming generation.
Beth White, trustee and musician at Orchestras for All, Max Louth, Youth Participation and Creative Learning Coordinator at 20Twenty Productions CIC, and Alissa Moore, Cumbria Calling Young Composer, shared their thoughts and opinions on what orchestras really need to consider when trying to engage younger audiences.
The conversation was ably guided by our two co-hosts, Jan Ford, Senior Creative Producer, and Yshani Perinpanayagam, composer, pianist and music leader, who created a supportive environment in which our panellists were able to freely express their ideas and talk about their own experiences.
The same questions about how to engage young audiences are still being asked as when I joined the industry.
~ Jan Ford
I think a lot about breaking the disconnect between young people and orchestral music. A lot of it's about stereotypes.
~ Alissa Moore
As always there the event provided us with plenty of food for thought. Here are some of the key themes and takeaways from the discussion:
- Lockdown allowed many young people the space and time to discover new genres including classical music. We need consider how to maintain this appeal to younger listeners post-pandemic. How do we convert interest from digital to live experience?
- Many young people have an image of an orchestra and what it does that has been created by stereotypes. We need to find ways to communicate the range of ways an orchestra can support their needs.
- Free and access ticket schemes for younger audiences are often an industry secret and many young people don’t know they exist.
- Social media is not always the answer to engagement. It can show younger audiences what an organisation does, but in-person experiences are the key to building trust and engagement.
- Younger people like new and novel experiences. They want to try something different and unique. Standard, formal concert experiences are not going to entice them to engage.
- First impressions begin before a concert experience. We need to consider our communication styles, tone of voice and visuals when interacting with young audiences.
- Venues need to be welcoming and inclusive. The social aspect of a music experience is very important to younger audiences.
- Relevance in programming and personnel is key. Novelty programming should be avoided! Younger audiences want to connect with music and musicians who resemble them and resonate with them.
We don't know what we don't know, and a large number of young people won't understand what an orchestra is or what it does.
~ Max Louth
Feedback from our old logo made people feel that we were going to be really strict. The first impression begins before the performance.
~ Beth White
There is still a sense of orchestral music saying ‘This is for us. You are welcome to experience it, but this is for us.’ This can be addressed by increasing the diversity and representation in personnel and programming.
~ Yshani Perinpanayagam
If you were unable to attend the event and would like to view the recording, please email us and we will share this with you.