In spite of evolving popular interests, is classical music a relevant and appreciated genre within the college-aged demographic? The answer to this question dwells beneath two modes of popularity which determine lasting relevance: accessibility and practicality.
Accelerated technological evolution and progressively fluctuating music tastes make up the core of the millennial generation. So where does the classical music genre fit? It is a genre still clinging to relevance despite a generation of post-teenage twenty somethings who have grasped to a life of accessibility. Classical music is as respected as an infomercial on at three in the morning, one that is watched because there is nothing else on.
In a technologically chameleon-like era, information is more accessible than ever. Songs are readily available to anyone and everyone simply by a click of a button. The college age demographic doesn’t need to get up from their chairs to actively seek a way to enjoy their favorite music genres; this can be done in pajamas surrounded by varying study materials.
Robert Franz, music director of the Boise Philharmonic, gave some of his thoughts on accessibility and how this affects popularity of classical music in the college demographic.
“Music is anywhere and everwhere… I mean everywhere,” Franz said. “We live in a world now where the next generation doesn’t even have to get out of bed in the morning in order to seek out the music they like.”
Franz went on to describe the state of classical music in relation to this accessibility.
“Every time I go out on stage at the beginning of one of our performances, I see an ocean of majority grey-haired patrons out and I wonder, ‘where are the young?” Franz said. “Now I am not against music accessibility being in the state that it is in the modern world, I am just saying that it may be one of the main reasons why college-aged students don’t attend classical music performances anymore.”
This rapidly evolving accessible nature of music is part of the reason why the music industry itself is having to shift its natural course of doing business.
CD sales are dropping as more and more internet sites and companies provide music for a much lower price than the conventional CD. Even attendance for performances in a concert setting is decreasing as it has become a chore to physically attend a concert. It is no longer practical for a consumer to participate in the monetary exchange between customer and music providers.
So what chance does classical music have in this advancing world?
This is a genre that has lasted for centuries, as the great composers throughout history have somehow stood the test of time. Through a variety of technological advancements, classic music is still here. However, classical music is no longer a part of this world’s current modern culture. Students occasionally listen to it while studying or working on something on their laptops.
Domenic Gelsomino, recent graduate of Boise State, gave some insight on his love of classical music and how it is was a part of his life as a student.
“I grew up in a traditional Italian family and I grew up appreciating classical music,” Gelsomino said. “Although I have to be honest, I really only listened to while I was studying or doing homework. Come to think of it, I never really attended one of the shows at the Morrison Center.”
The Morrison Center is host to the Boise Philharmonic and offers high discounts for Boise State students when they present their student I.D. at the box office. But most students don’t know about this perk.
Whether that is the fault of the marketing department at the Morrison Center or lack of care by students, it would seem that in an accessible world, information is still not efficiently passed. In terms of practicality, students don’t have the time to make an adventure to the box office to get tickets.
“In all my time at Boise State before I graduated I honestly had no idea that the Morrison Center offered discounted rates for students,” Gelsomino said. “To be honest though, I don’t know if I would have made the trip to even buy tickets… I just felt like I never had the time.”
The genre of classical music is at an uncertain time in this modern age. Although it has survived for centuries and kept its relevance by one form or another, time will only tell if it will survive this era’s rapid evolution.