Full Halls are Not Good Enough

By October 31, 2016Commentary

The Schubert Club is very fortunate to have a very strong base of donors and subscribers. We are able to brag about halls that are 85% full on average, a number much higher than many other similar organizations, for years and years on end. While we’re proud of these numbers, we are still determined to improve and are constantly working to attract new and younger audiences to our concerts in an effort to make sure the arts remain vibrant well into the future.

Data compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts shows that the average age of classical music audiences has shifted from an average age of 42.5 in 1982 to 49 in 2008. Additional studies reveal that about 9% of the U.S. adult population participated in classical music events in 2012, down from 11.5% in 2002. Similar downward trending statistics are true for other disciplines including Art Museums, Musical Theater, Jazz, Dance, and Opera. This same set of data shows that the biggest decreases in arts attendance are among young people. This could be due to the increased competition for young people’s leisure time, a waning of arts education in schools, or because more and more people are getting their “arts fix” through technological means versus live performances. Whatever the reasons, it seems quite apparent that all arts organizations need to play their part to help ensure we reverse this trend and help ensure arts appreciation grows among the youth of today.

The Schubert Club has several initiatives to help grow arts appreciation in younger audiences. We have our Family Concerts for kids of the very youngest of ages. KidsJam workshops (interactive music workshops in our Museum and after-school programs) and Project Cheer (free private music lessons at the Hallie Q. Brown Center) target school aged children. We also have a unique program called Theoroi that aims to grow arts appreciation in a group of young adults, ages 21-40, and encourages them to share their enthusiasm with their peers using social media.

In addition to these programs, we also have student ticket discounts, extremely affordable subscription options for students, a discount ticket membership program called “Five Dollar Scholar,” and we have tailored our marketing strategies to better connect with younger audiences.

While we’ve seen great successes with all of these initiatives, our work is by no means done. As we celebrate our 135th anniversary season and look forward to the next 100+ years, reaching new audiences will remain a top priority for us. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas about how to cultivate a new generation of arts appreciators. Please do share with us.

 

About Tessa Retterath Jones
Tessa Retterath Jones is the Marketing & Audience Development Manager at the Schubert Club, responsible for all aspects of marketing, ticketing, audience development, and online communications such as social media and schubert.org content. Tessa has been with the Schubert Club since 2006. 

2 Comments

  • caroline benser says:

    Barry,

    One of the biggest hold backs on younger people coming to hear good music is simply a lack of musical education. The schools are–for the most part–doing a dismal job of teaching basic music skills, or having the students learn to sing together. Most 8 year olds today don’t know the words to the most simple folk tunes or American songs we all learned in grammar school. One can give away tickets, and reduce prices on tickets, but the students must have some level of “needing” the music experience and have a way to connect…and basic music education does this. I feel that this is where the problem lies.

    Now, on the other side of this–I want to relate that at Renee Fleming’s recital in Oct. there was a young girl with her mother sitting beside us. They had gotten their tickets that morning and were both excited to be there. The young girl was 8 years old, we discovered in our conversation with her during intermission. She was intently following the translated text of every number Fleming was singing…and was totally engaged! We need more like her!!
    She told us she plays cello and sings in a school choir…there you go.

    Keep up the good work at The Schubert Club.
    Caroline Benser