A big part of my role as CBSO Youth Ambassador is unsurprisingly attending lots of CBSO concerts at the Symphony Hall. On Thursday I went to see the CBSO perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto 1, Bruckner Symphony 4 and Wagner The Masters of Nuremberg Overture. You can listen to this music here:
For this concert I invited nine people to come with me, of these three had very little experience of classical music concerts; they’d played in our local youth orchestra but never really seen a professional orchestra. I was really looking forward to going with a group but it felt like quite a lot of responsibility. The pieces being played in this concert were thoroughly exciting but the symphony was 61 minutes long and my fear was that would be far too much for a new audience to deal with.
Taking a new audience made me realise how ingrained concert hall etiquette was in me – and how much I had failed them to tell them about. It made me aware of how concerts could be made more accessible simply by making expectations really clear before the concert. The feedback they gave me was really good! Ironically, the music college students struggled more with an hours symphony than the people who hadn’t been to a CBSO concert before.
I discovered that although two of them had brought programmes before the concert, none of them read them other than a quick skim through the pictures. It made me think of how we can present the information that helps people learn about the music, in the way they find or accessible – or whether you need this information at all to appreciate the concert.
It was a really good evening, except it was a little stressful on my part making sure my friends were having a good experience!
Thank you for reading!