That was the official number of paying patrons that attended the Sci-Fi Day Celebration at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis that I performed at this past Saturday. Granted, the performance was just a small part of the total event and there were many activities for the patrons to participate in–the Frog Prince play; all the wandering folks/fans in full costume with all the concomitant photo opps; and the raison d’etre itself–the Incredible Costumes From Film & TV exhibit itself.
So no, most of the folks there didn’t come to hear il Troubadore play tlhIgan QoQ (Klingon music)–not most of them anyway–they were there for the total experience that Eric Edberg and Greg Sandow are talking about here and here. And while I have some misgivings about that issue that I commented about here there’s a different issue I’d eventually like to blog about relating to what we might call an audience development issue that I was reminded of regarding the whole “Pop vs Classical” [non] issue that was being discussed in Greg’s blog.
And that issue is Children. It seems like in the end, many folks forget that Children are probably the most important audiences period. I can’t even begin to count how many interesting discussions I’ve had with local band musicians (here “band musicians” is equivalent to Pop/Rock musicians at the local level–namely in and around Indianapolis and Central Indiana) about the declining or small audiences for local “original music.”
At the same time, just as there is often a divide between the Covers vs Original scene that is implicit in local band scenes everywhere, you’ll also see a similar divide between the All-Ages vs 21+ scene (or 18+ scene depending on which region you happen to be in). Greg Sandow, who had also been a pop music reviewer for a number of years as well as being one of the current Future of Classical Music gurus seems to understand (now) that it’s not a simple Pop vs Classical dichotomy anymore (not that it ever really has been) and while I’ve spent much typing to help elaborate on that point, this issue of Children and Audiences is something I also hadn’t revisited in some years.
While the traditional Classical Music institutions understand (or understood) that Children, and their
indoctrination education into the world of Classical music is crucial to creating audiences, it seems like many of these orgs are forgetting to implement some of programs that others are taking up the slack in now. On the other hand, all the complaints I’ve heard/read from the pop music side of things regarding (what amounts to nearly negligible Governmental) funding that Classical Music Institutions get invariably don’t understand (since playing music for children is rarely a concern for them) that usually with public funding comes the exchange of outreach and educational programs–often directed specifically towards children. Cut that funding, and usually it is precisely these outreach and educational programs that get cut (a familiar issue for those of us following educational cuts).
What I’ve always found fascinating about clubbing bands (whether Cover or Original) in general, is the audience directed focus towards a teenage + crowd–and how so much of their rhetoric and informed-ness is directed toward such a narrow segment of the total population. It’s probably something I’m keenly aware of if only because I’m interested in underserved audiences in general, but also because in a way, the most underserved audience from all sides of things are the kids.